Ontario plans to develop "transit-oriented communities"

Jul 6 2020, 10:37 am

The Government of Ontario has developed a “made-in-Ontario plan” to build transit-oriented communities with integrated housing around transit hubs.

On Monday, Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), said that as part of the plan, the government would enter into a new commercial agreements with partners to build transit-oriented communities.

This would allow for the development of more integrated housing around transit and potentially provide more job opportunities.

According to the Province, the measures would also save taxpayers money by having the development industry make direct, significant contributions to the cost of building transit for the benefit of “communities, all transit riders, and Ontario taxpayers.”

“Instead of building stations in isolation, we will build fully integrated communities,” said Surma.

“Transit-oriented communities will benefit the Greater Toronto Area by increasing ridership, reducing congestion, providing a mix of housing — including affordable housing — and providing critical local services and amenities like daycares and recreational spaces.”

The Ontario plan also includes measures that would make it “easier and faster” to build provincial highways, major transit infrastructure projects, and affordable housing, while “ensuring there are meaningful opportunities for community consultation and input.”

The Province is proposing to accelerate key provincial highway construction and priority transit projects by establishing an exemption from the Hearing of Necessity process.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant hardship for individuals, families, and businesses throughout the province. We’re going to need everyone’s help to rebuild the province and get people back to work,” said Ford.

“Through these proposed initiatives, we will start Ontario down the road to recovery by getting critical infrastructure projects built faster, creating jobs in communities across the province.”

Provincial Hearings of Necessity occur approximately five to 10 times per year on average for provincial highway projects. Hearings are said to add months of red tape and construction delays for critical provincial infrastructure, costing up to five months for transit projects and up to 12 months for provincial highway projects, according to the Province.

The government says these measures would allow Ontario to quickly undertake technical investigations and prepare construction sites, while ensuring consultation with landowners.