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Condo Trends: Federal investment a boon for Toronto

Investing in transit is important as the city’s density increases

Riverside Square, which features an open-concept public plaza with wide pedestrian promenades, is a condo that does a great job of contributing to the larger community.

Courtesy Streetcar developments

Riverside Square, which features an open-concept public plaza with wide pedestrian promenades, is a condo that does a great job of contributing to the larger community.

Toronto’s infrastructure is about to get a big boost from new funding announced as part of the 2016 federal budget.

That’s the word from a recent annual meeting of some of Toronto’s best and brightest urban planners.

The Toronto chapter of the Urban Land Institute, an international organization of public and private sector professionals in the development and land use community, held their second annual Meet the Chiefs gala last week.

The event aims to celebrate the synergies between the private and public sectors, hosting senior municipal and provincial planning and development officials from across the GTA.

Toronto’s chief planner, Jennifer Keesmaat moderated a panel discussion about Electric Cities, a new, multi-year initiative which focuses on innovative thinking about placemaking, mobility and technology to advance urbanism across the Toronto region.

Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s new Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, was on hand to discuss federal investment in urban infrastructure initiatives that will greatly influence housing and transit in the region.

A large portion of the new investment is earmarked for public transit, wastewater management and green initiatives vital to Toronto’s densification and explosive growth of condominium development.

According to Sohi, the budget announced on March 22 confirms historic new investment in infrastructure for Canadian cities totaling more than $120 billion over a decade, including $60 billion of badly needed new money for public transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure.

“Infrastructure is the backbone of a community and of our economy. Well-planned infrastructure investments generate economic growth, support communities and leave a lasting legacy for Canadians.” said Sahi.

The evening’s speakers emphasized the three tenets of creating successful cities: placemaking, technology and mobility.

Creating interesting cityscapes, lively public spaces and inviting neighbourhoods requires the city to focus on collaboration.

“Building a strong sustainable, inclusive city is a partnership between government, industry, and community.” says Sahi.

There is much excitement among the planning community with regard to the news. “The federal government is now a deeply invested urban partner with historic funding commitments to urban transit.” says ULI Toronto executive director, Richard Joy. “The 2016 federal budget could be a game changer for our region.”

Keesmaat said that she never thought she would see this level of commitment in her lifetime. “We truly are entering a brave new world where we are thinking in a fundamentally different way about how we spend our money.”

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