February 12 - Building industry calls for balanced growth in Markham

February 17, 2010

Building industry calls for balanced growth in Markham

Greater Toronto, Feb. 12, 2010 - The Building Industry & Land Development Association (BILD) is urging the Town of Markham Council to follow the advice of its professional staff by adopting a balanced approach to growth that continues to provide a variety of housing and employment choices while protecting natural heritage and preserving agricultural lands.

Markham Council faces a choice among three approaches to accommodating 150,000 new residents over the next 20 years: the staff preferred growth option which involves a modest expansion of the urban boundary while protecting environmental and agricultural lands; York Region's Proposal, which is nearly identical to the Markham staff approach; and a third option under which all future residential, commercial and industrial growth in Markham would be within the existing urban envelope.

 "There have been a whole lot of expectations raised by the last-minute proposal to completely restrict the outward growth of Markham, a proposal which is well-intentioned but inconsistent with the reality of growth in the GTA, York Region and Markham itself," said BILD President and CEO Stephen Dupuis.

"The 'no urban boundary expansion' concept is redundant insofar as the Greater Golden Horseshoe Growth Plan sets out a comprehensive approach to planning in order to curb sprawl while protecting farmland and green-spaces, objectives which York Region has clearly addressed through its recently approved Official Plan, developed in close consultation with all stakeholders over the last three years.

"The Growth Plan aims to create complete communities that offer more options for living, working, learning, shopping and playing, as well as to provide housing options to meet the needs of people at any age. The 'no urban boundary expansion' approach would limit the housing supply to high-density development, an alternative which neither current nor future Markham residents are likely to embrace.

"A percentage of homebuyers, particularly families, will always aspire to the low-rise lifestyle, an option which should be available in every community. If homebuyers can't find the housing options they prefer in Markham, they will simply move further a-field," Dupuis asserted.

"Markham is not an island and no municipality should be when it comes to planning to meet the inevitable growth pressures facing the GTA. The provincial government has laid out a comprehensive legislative and regulatory framework to promote sustainable development and curb urban sprawl. Additional local layers of protection, particularly those that promote one-dimensional solutions to growth management at the expense of housing affordability and choice are not helpful at this time."

With more than 1,300 members, BILD, formed through the merger of the Greater Toronto Home Builders' Association and Urban Development Institute/Ontario, is the voice of the land development, home building and professional renovation industry in the Greater Toronto Area.  BILD is proudly affiliated with the Ontario and Canadian Home Builders' Associations.

For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Andrei Zaretski, Manager of Communications, at 416-391-3450 or 416-843-4898, communications@bildgta.ca; Stephen Dupuis, President and CEO, at 416-391-3453 or 416-948-8654, sdupuis@bildgta.ca.