Wednesday 27 January 1993
Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act, 1993, Bill 61
Coalition of Cityhome Tenants
Lee Zaslofsky, president
Inner City Land Trust
John Harstone, manager
Toronto Island Residents' Association
Bruce Lewis, solicitor
Ian J. Brown
Queen City Yacht Club
Wayne Smith, commodore
Toronto Island Land Trust
Flying Toad Co-operative Homes Inc
Peter Dewdney, president
Toronto Island School Parent-Teacher Association
Pam Mazza, member
Charlotte Wheeler, member
John Campey, member
STANDING COMMITTEE ON GENERAL GOVERNMENT
*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin L)
*Acting Chair / Président suppléant: Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)
Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: McClelland, Carman (Brampton North/-Nord L)
Arnott, Ted (Wellington PC)
Ferguson, Will, (Kitchener ND)
Fletcher, Derek (Guelph ND)
*Harrington, Margaret H. (Niagara Falls ND)
Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)
*Mammoliti, George (Yorkview ND)
*Marchese, Rosario (Fort York ND)
Murdoch, Bill (Grey PC)
Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)
*Sola, John (Mississauga East/-Est L)
*In attendance / présents
Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:
Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L) for Ms Poole
Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L) for Mr McClelland
Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Hope
Morrow, Mark (Wentworth East/-Est ND) for Mr Fletcher
Stockwell, Chris (Etobicoke West/-Ouest PC) for Mr Murdoch
Swarbrick, Anne (Scarborough West/-Ouest ND) for Mr Ferguson
Turnbull, David (York Mills PC) for Mr Arnott
Clerk pro tem / Greffière par intérim: Grannum, Tonia
Staff / Personnel:
Luski, Lorraine, research officer, Legislative Research Service
Swift, Susan, research officer, Legislative Research Service
The committee met at 1009 in committee room 2.
TORONTO ISLANDS RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY STEWARDSHIP ACT, 1993 / LOI DE 1993 SUR L'ADMINISTRATION DE LA ZONE RÉSIDENTIELLE DES ÎLES DE TORONTO
Consideration of Bill 61, An Act respecting Algonquin and Ward's Islands and respecting the Stewardship of the Residential Community on the Toronto Islands / Loi concernant les îles Algonquin et Ward's et concernant l'administration de la zone résidentielle des îles de Toronto.
The Chair (Mr Michael A. Brown): The standing committee will come to order. The business of the committee is to consider Bill 61. We are in the process of conducting public hearings --
Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): With or without the Tories.
Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Where are the Tories? They're always missing.
The Chair: Order.
COALITION OF CITYHOME TENANTS
The Chair: The first witness today will be the Coalition of Cityhome Tenants. Good after -- good morning.
Mr Lee Zaslofsky: Good afternoon.
Mr Grandmaître: Time really flies.
The Chair: Yes, time really flies.
Mr Zaslofsky: I feel the same way.
The Chair: Good morning. The committee has allocated you 15 minutes for your presentation.
Mr Zaslofsky: Right. Thank you, Mr Chair. I'm very grateful to the committee for the opportunity to come before you on this issue. I represent the Coalition of Cityhome Tenants, which is made up of people who are tenants in the Toronto Non-Profit Housing Corp, commonly known as Cityhome.
Cityhome buildings for the most part are located on publicly owned land and have been built under a series of ever-changing agreements among various levels of government, and amount to social housing with a market component. Many tenants are on rent geared to income or other forms of assistance. So the coalition, I think, represents a cross-section of people in Toronto who are concerned about housing and concerned about affordable housing because they live in a variety of it.
The reason I'm here before you today on behalf of the coalition is that we regard the island issue as a very important issue for two reasons. One of them has to do with the land trust arrangement, which we regard as a pioneering arrangement that could very well be extended to other locations and other types of situations possibly in the future, including some Cityhome situations. The other reason is the idea of community, which we think, as tenants, is very important, and community management of the housing in which people live as an important component of community building.
Personally, I've been a downtown resident for lo these many years now -- I'd say over 20 years -- and I've always been conscious of the island issue as a major background or context to my residence in the downtown of Toronto. I think most of us living there for any length of time have felt that way.
I was once canvassing a neighbourhood on an issue similar to the island issue in which a community was resisting some grand plans that had been made for it elsewhere and by other people far more important than they when I ran into an older man from eastern Europe. His English wasn't totally perfect, I guess. When I told him about the issue and asked his opinion and so on, he merely shrugged his shoulders with a wry smile and said "nichevo." I know a little bit of Russian, so I pursued it with him. I said: "What do you mean, nichevo?" That sort of means nothing, like a verbal shrug.
He said: "Well, in Russia we used to have situations like this, and the police would come or the government would come and tell us that something had to be done in our community, something had to be knocked down or built or moved around or something, and some of us would say: `But no, no. That's the wrong way to do it. We don't want that.' The government officials would just shrug their shoulders and say: `Nichevo, nichevo. Your objections have no meaning. Your objections are of no account. Just move.'"
Of course, in the Soviet Union in the old days that was a pretty effective tactic and I guess people just learned to take that with a wry smile and avoid any more open opposition.
The island residents, fortunately for the rest of us in Toronto and in Ontario, did not take a nichevo type of attitude to the situation. They decided that they would put the existence of their community forward as a major value and that they would put a lot of effort and work hard together to save that community. As I say, as a downtown resident and to us as tenants in sometimes very threatened communities, it's an example of how a community can come together democratically to work out a solution and stick together and sort of take a stand against the modern trend of just complying with everything the big guys tell you to do.
I'd like to move, after my emotional outburst there, to something a bit more specific. I like the land trust idea very much, and I think we like it very much, because it includes several components that I think we've been striving for around Toronto and around the province. It's all very well for the government to plan things, and certainly that's more democratic than just leaving it to the corporations or business, but it's not enough. It doesn't include, very often, the kind of ongoing participation that is so necessary if a community is to be formed and maintained.
The land trust seems to provide an alternative that would give an opportunity for a committee to come together on an ongoing basis and make those decisions together on an ongoing basis that will give a context to their community. Although it's a first time, as far as I understand it, that it'll be arranged in the way it'll be on the island, I think it's a really good thing to be doing. With the island residents, as I know them to be active and concerned people, I think it's got a very good chance of actually working as opposed to being one of those ideas that sounds good on paper but may not work.
I think we have the people on the ground there who will give it life. One aspect of that is community management, of course. In Cityhome and in many other varieties of social housing, as you know, management by tenants and by the residents has become a bigger and bigger issue.
The reason for this is that, I think many of us agree, some criticisms that have been made of oversize bureaucracies are true. It's very difficult for large bureaucracies to understand the perhaps very intimate conditions and intimate questions that go to making up a smaller community such as a building or a group of buildings in a downtown or a group of buildings in a suburb.
It's really important to get the people who live there involved in a real way, not in a phoney way by calling them to a meeting once in a while and telling them what's going to happen and asking their opinion and then going and doing what you want, but giving them real power to make decisions. I think in this case the community trust is a way of doing that.
I like it also because it's a way of keeping the land in public ownership without simply attributing it to some huge, distant bureaucracy to administer. It's a way of keeping the land and keeping affordable housing while ensuring that there's a community management component.
I like the idea that there's no windfall profit going to be going to the lucky people who happen to be residing on the island or in any other such arrangement. I think that type of thing has often led to gross distortions in planning and gross distortions in communities. I think it has contributed very heavily to the breakdown in family values that so many of us are concerned about but attribute the problem only to actions of government. A hotly speculative market can break up families and put families under far more stress than a lot of government activity can. I'm glad to see that there's not going to be that factor of windfall profit, of everybody rushing to the trough to try to get theirs before the other people do.
As a tenant and as the president of the Cityhome coalition of tenants, just to sum up, I'd like to say that I strongly support this bill. I hope the members of the committee and a majority of the Legislature will support it -- I know not everyone will -- that the bill will become law and that we'll have an opportunity to observe it in action because it embodies two of the values that we think are really important; that is, building community with a strong component of community power over its own arrangements, and the principle of public ownership, affordable housing and non-profit housing.
Thank you for the opportunity to address you. I'll give it my best shot to answer any questions you may have.
The Chair: Thank you. I'm looking at the government caucus. Miss Swarbrick.
Ms Anne Swarbrick (Scarborough West): I'm sorry I was late.
Mr Zaslofsky: That's quite okay.
Ms Swarbrick: I'm just wondering, as somebody who knows a number of people who are on very low incomes: There's been some question whether buying a 99-year land lease for $36,000 or $46,000 under the conditions here is something that would put off some other people with low incomes who might not be receiving their apartment unit at a terribly low rent rate. What's your sense in terms of how people will respond to this?
Mr Zaslofsky: I regret that's being made into such a major complaint. My feeling is that anyone who wanted to buy a house and had those limitations on it and had those explained to him and was really interested in home ownership, would get up and walk out of the room and say: "Don't give me that garbage. That isn't what I want at all. I want a whole variety of other rights that this arrangement does not have."
As far as low-income people are concerned, I would say that although we are going to see how this works in practice and we may have to iron out some problems and so on, I would say that for many low-income people it might be a good example of what could be in their future. If we can make this work, there might be other examples they could participate in.
I'm very concerned that some people seem to think a community working together is a threatening force and has to be subjected to a whole bunch of abuse and threats and all sorts of things like that, when in fact what we've seen is a community working with government and working with others to build an arrangement that works for everybody. So I think low-income people can look at this arrangement with some hope.
Ms Swarbrick: You share my potential excitement, I think, at the idea of this possibly being a model for finding more ways to create more affordable housing through removing the element of land speculation from the cost of land.
Mr Zaslofsky: Not only that: I think it gives people an assurance of tenancy that other arrangements are less capable of giving.
Mr Grandmaître: Let's follow up on the arrangements. You qualified them as a whole lot of garbage. Can you qualify this?
Mr Zaslofsky: What I was referring to is that I think there's been a lot of criticism, a very misleading and distorted criticism, of the island residents themselves. As I said, I'm a downtown resident and I know islanders as perhaps some members here might not because, of course, you're from other parts of the province and so on, and some of the charges and comments made against them seem to come from a visceral resentment of something that has absolutely nothing to do with them.
My feeling is that they've been resourceful, they've been assertive, if not aggressive, at times, and they've been persistent and they've been tenacious. Those are virtues that, if used well and used wisely, as I think they have been in this case, go to build a community. When those qualities are viciously, abusively attacked and set up as some kind of terrible way to behave, it seems to me to reinforce that consuming, passive kind of approach to life that so many of us have been concerned about: Politics is a bunch of products; you take your pick; if you don't like the products you sit back and whine, and when you whine you get resentful, and you sit and get resentful and watch TV and curse at the politicians on TV. But when do you really do something about it?
I think the islanders have said: "We're not going to sit back and whine and complain and say `nichevo' and give wry smiles and wink at each other and say, `That's life.' We're going to do something about it, and we're going to do it in the proper way. We're going to use every resource at our disposal within the law and within good citizenship to achieve a goal that everybody can respect."
Mr Grandmaître: In other words, the arrangement or the setup or Bill 61 -- you do agree with Bill 61?
Mr Zaslofsky: Yes. I think Bill 61 is a good bill.
Mr Grandmaître: You don't have any qualms with people paying $36,000 or $46,000 for a 99-year lease? You think this is fair for low-income people.
Mr Zaslofsky: I think it is fair in these circumstances, yes I do. When you look at the deal these people are getting and what they had to go through to get it, I hope you would see the justice of it as well.
Mr Grandmaître: One last question?
The Chair: No. Mr Stockwell.
Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): You made the suggestion that if you made this offer to the public they would refuse it simply because it's not what they want. You're suggesting to me that if this offer was made to just the general public, the public domain out there, you wouldn't get any takers?
Mr Zaslofsky: No, that's a distortion of what I said. What I said was that if someone wanted to buy a house and went to a real estate agent, and the real estate agent offered them this deal on a house, they would say: "This is absolutely not what I want. I want equity. I want to be able to sell and all that."
Mr Stockwell: And the question is: If you did make this offer to the public domain, do you think you'd get any takers?
Mr Zaslofsky: I think you'd get some takers, yes.
Mr Stockwell: Lots?
Mr Zaslofsky: I'm not sure, but I think a lot of people would want to see how this works first, frankly, because choosing your house is an important --
Mr Stockwell: You don't know whether or not you'd get a lot of takers to buy a piece of property in Toronto Islands for as little as $36,000 for 100 years. You're not certain whether you'd get a lot of takers.
Mr Zaslofsky: Well, I also think that a lot of people who want to put $36,000 into housing are going to want to take some equity out and they're going to want to have the ability to make some profit on it.
Mr Stockwell: You think the people would want to make profit on their $36,000 investment.
Mr Zaslofsky: I think a lot of people would, yes.
Mr Stockwell: Considering the fact you can't buy a garage in Etobicoke, where I live, for $36,000.
Mr Zaslofsky: I don't know about garages in Etobicoke, but I do know that a lot of people who want to get into the housing market --
Mr Stockwell: Considering those facts, though, that the average price of a bungalow in Metropolitan Toronto is probably $200,000, and that any kind of home in this kind of setting would run you $250,000, you think it would be unusual for people to be taking up this offer?
Mr Zaslofsky: I think a lot of people who want to buy housing are looking for more than simply the residential accommodation. They are looking for equity in that housing. The equity deal they're getting here is a poor deal.
Mr Stockwell: That wasn't the question, with all due respect. The question was very clear. You would find it surprising to find a significant number of people standing in line to get this deal?
Mr Zaslofsky: Once people see how this works, I think they will think that they would like deals like this themselves. Many people, perhaps, will take also the attitude that, "If someone else gets it and I can't immediately get it, then I'm going to resent those people and try to destroy what they've got."
Mr Stockwell: Sir, I'm not asking you what people will think. I just asked you what --
Mr Zaslofsky: I thought you did me ask what people thought.
Mr Stockwell: No. I just asked you whether or not there would be a lot of people standing in line for this deal. That's all I asked you, and you don't know.
Mr Zaslofsky: That's right, I don't know.
Mr Stockwell: Next question: What is the rent you pay right now?
Mr Zaslofsky: I pay $624.
Mr Stockwell: Six hundred and twenty-four dollars a month. Do you have any guarantees that that will be $624 a month for the next 100 years?
Mr Zaslofsky: Certainly not.
Mr Stockwell: And you think it's a reasonable request that the islanders be given a rent factor, in essence, of $36,000 that will guarantee their rent for 100 years?
Mr Zaslofsky: I would say this as well: that in Cityhome, because of the housing market recently, there have been some declines in rent.
Mr Stockwell: So in essence you think --
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Stockwell.
Mr Stockwell: That's interesting, though, declines in rent. In 100 years we'll probably see rent at a buck a day.
The Chair: Thank you, sir, for appearing before us today.
Mr Zaslofsky: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman.
Mr Mark Morrow (Wentworth East): A point of clarification, please.
The Chair: Sure, though I'm not sure what a point of clarification is.
Mr Morrow: Just for a point of clarification, these people are not paying rent for 99 years. They are purchasing property.
The Chair: Let's not start debates here.
I would like to bring to the attention of members that we are working on the agenda that is the pink agenda. It's important that you look at this agenda because there are some changes in times, and if there's a problem with that, the Chair would appreciate knowing. As you know, we've been scheduling to open up Thursday afternoon and there are some extensions of times required in order to do that. It would be helpful to know at the earliest possible moment that you have some problem with the scheduling.
The other thing I should mention, and I should have done this yesterday, is that the researcher and I have had a discussion about preparing the report for the committee. Obviously, finishing committee hearings at 12:30 on Thursday afternoon will not permit having a full report for the committee by 2 o'clock Thursday afternoon. That almost goes without saying. Ms Luski, under my instructions, is going to prepare a report which will be available for committee of the whole or for third reading for members, but it's impossible to have it ready Thursday afternoon. If there's any problem with that, I'd like to know too.
Mr Stockwell: You can probably start your report today. I think I know the government.
The Chair: I'm told Ms Luski will have an interim summary tomorrow morning for us. We will continue.
INNER CITY LAND TRUST
The Chair: Our next presentation is from Inner City Land Trust, John Harstone, manager. Good morning. The committee has allocated one half-hour for your presentation. We always appreciate it if you allow some time for questions and answers following your presentation.
Mr John Harstone: I was actually aiming for 10 to 15 minutes, so I think I can accommodate you.
The Chair: That's excellent. The members like to have conversations with you.
Mr Harstone: I hope I can provoke some questions as well. I think there's a lot to talk about in this.
Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to address your committee. I was asked by the Toronto Island Residents' Association to speak to the committee about land trusts.
I think first I should start by telling you something about the organization for which I work. I'm the manager of the Inner City Land Trust. Inner City was set up by the Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto in 1986 as a land trust for housing co-ops in the greater Toronto area. Inner City's actually the largest of the three land trusts that are currently operating housing co-ops in Ontario. We have 14 co-ops in the trust, and that represents about 2,300 units of affordable housing. Inner City owns the land and leases the land on a long-term basis to the co-ops. The co-ops then build an affordable housing project on it and rent the individual units to their members.
The board of Inner City is appointed by the Co-Operative Housing Federation of Toronto. The federation has 130 co-ops as members throughout the Toronto area. In addition, we're affiliated with the Institute for Community Economics, which is an association of community land trusts in the United States; about 100 community land trusts are part of that association.
Although Bill 61 does not refer to the corporation that will own the residential land on the island as a land trust, Richard Johnston conceptualized the corporation in his report as a land trust and throughout his report the landholding corporation was referred to as a land trust. So I think it's fair to talk about a land trust even though the bill itself doesn't really address that directly.
A land trust is a non-profit organization which owns the land for the benefit of the community. There are actually over 1,000 land trusts in North America. Most of them are environmental land trusts which own ecologically sensitive areas such as wetlands and old-growth forests. There are a few agricultural trusts which have been set up to preserve land for family farms; I know the Ministry of Agriculture and Food was looking into that as an option in Ontario.
In recent years, land trusts have been established in urban areas. Urban land trusts are commonly referred to as community land trusts. These land trusts are set up to guarantee that an individual cannot profit from an investment made by the community -- by the way, that's either the government or the community itself -- in affordable housing and that the housing would remain affordable for low- and moderate-income families in perpetuity.
A cooperative housing land trust like Inner City leases its land only to cooperative corporations. A community land trust, which is what the ones in the United States primarily are, and a few in Canada, particularly in Quebec, leases its land to families which own the houses that are built on that land.
So I'm going to talk about community land trusts because I think that's really relevant to the island situation. They have three characteristics. Buildings on the land trust land are leased to the occupants on a long-term basis which provides security of tenure. The lease between the land trust and the occupants limits the profit that can be made when the building is sold; there's no speculative gain. There's broad community representation on the land trust board of directors. The trust is democratically controlled.
In the United States, community land trusts have become an important tool in the development of affordable housing. Connecticut, Wisconsin and Vermont are among the states which have enacted legislation which either sets up or defines community land trusts. However, none of the American legislation is as comprehensive as Bill 61 or goes into that level of detail.
In October 1992, the US Congress defined a community land trust in an amendment to section 233 of the Cranston-Gonzalez National Affordable Housing Act, and this amendment makes community land trusts eligible to receive assistance to organize and set up new land trusts. It does not provide assistance to develop housing on the land owned by the land trust, which of course is really where the greatest need is, but all they're doing at this moment is helping people get them organized.
What I'd like to do is to focus on the mechanism which is discussed in that legislation as to how a land trust should be set up and how the board is operating. In order to be eligible for federal assistance, a community land trust in the United States must guarantee that one third of its board is elected by residents who live in the houses that are built on land that is leased from the trust -- elected. One third of the board has to come from the general community, must be elected by the community. Community directors cannot live in houses leased by the trust. Then the legislation sets out that the balance of the directors are going to be elected from the general membership, and the general membership is open to anyone who lives in the particular geographical region which the land trust was set up to serve.
The formula ensures that the board will always have one third from the community, one third from the residents, and then the balance -- well, it depends from land trust to land trust as to whether or not the majority are the residents or in fact from the community. The formula was designed to create a balance between the interests of the residents and the interests of the community.
I think the American experience is relevant because community land trusts in the US are dealing with exactly the same issues which are facing the Toronto Islands. All the houses built on the land owned by a community land trust are owned by the residents; only the land is leased. The American land trusts have been successful in limiting the profits when a house is sold. There are several different formulas which have been incorporated into the leases, and I'm not going to go into what they are, but if people are interested, that information can be provided. All of these formulas limit the profit on resale to a reasonable amount of return on investment and prevent residents from cashing in on high prices which are created by market conditions.
Community land trusts have given the Americans a tool to create perpetually affordable housing which is owned by the residents. It is very different. Here we have our perpetually affordable housing, which is done as social housing, which is a partnership between non-profit organizations and the government. There the partnership is very much between the individuals and the community land trust to come up with a way for individuals to be part of the solution. It's very much what's going to be happening on the island.
The residents have to get a mortgage, which they are responsible for paying off. There is no government assistance or guarantee available for these mortgages. This is one of the things which you will be doing on the island, putting up those government guarantees.
Land trusts in the United States are now well enough established that Fanny May, which is one of the pools of mortgage-backed securities, has actually agreed now to lend money to families who are buying houses on leased land. This means they are able to tap into excellent financing terms.
Convincing lenders to lend money to families buying houses on leased land was not an easy task. It's something new. I think Lee Zaslofsky was right, even finding people wanting to buy houses on leased land will be something new. But it was essential to be able to get this acceptance to make the community land trust viable.
The American model has much to recommend itself if we're moving to less government involvement and less government funding for affordable housing. The development of affordable housing in Canada to date has been very expensive. Community land trusts are a cost-effective way of developing permanently affordable housing and may be an appropriate way to develop ownership housing on provincial lands because of the mechanism of leasing the lands and putting limits in the lease on the resale value.
Community land trusts are democratically controlled by the community and the residents. The board members are accountable to the constituencies which elected them. We would like to recommend that the committee consider amending Bill 61 to include a provision which gives the island residents the right to directly elect a portion of the board of the corporation that will own the land. At this moment, I think the regulations say that two thirds of the directors on the corporation will be from the island community. We feel that it would be appropriate to set up a direct elective mechanism where residents get to elect directly people on to the board.
If the eventual goal is for the island to be self-financing and responsible for the upkeep of the land, the board needs to be democratically controlled. If that board is going to be levying fees and charges, then the people who are going to be setting out those fees and charges should be responsible back to the people who are going to be paying them. I think the best way to do that is through a democratically elected mechanism. I recognize that there are some reasons why the government might wish to go through a process of appointing it through order in council and taking recommendations rather than an election, but I feel that the success of the island community may hinge upon how well that board represents the interests of the people on the island.
I think it's unfortunate that the decision was made not to call the corporation that's going to be there a land trust. I think that the government is missing an opportunity to use the island as a creative solution which can be shown as an example of how to develop a land trust to deal with permanent affordable ownership housing. I think that it's a kind of leadership we need to deal with some of the housing issues that are facing us.
In closing, I'd like to say that I'm very pleased that Richard Johnston's report recommended the use of a land trust as a vehicle to resolve the deadlock around the islands. I think land trusts have enormous potential to allow local communities to have a say over land use issues, and the use of a modified trust on the Toronto Islands will provide more exposure to the concept of land trusts, which we hope will lead to the inclusion of land trusts among the possible solutions to the housing problems that currently face us.
Mr Grandmaître: John, I'm learning something about this land trust business. Did you say you were the manager of 14 different co-ops?
Mr Harstone: No, no. Inner City owns the land on which 14 co-ops are built. The co-ops are managed by the residents. They each elect their own board of directors. They have arranged their own financing and built the buildings on that land.
Mr Grandmaître: Okay. Can you give me an example of one of the arrangements that you have with these co-ops that resembles the setup in the Toronto Islands that this bill is trying to create?
Mr Harstone: No. In fact --
Mr Grandmaître: There's none.
Mr Harstone: The example that we're working on right now -- we're a cooperative housing land trust, and I think that there is no precise example which would work, because we're leasing the entire site to a corporation. You're going to be having a land trust here on the islands which is going to lease each individual house lot to the individuals. There are over 100 land trusts in North America which do exactly what the Toronto Island land trusts are doing, but we're not one of them.
Mr Grandmaître: You're not one of them.
Mr Harstone: We're not one of them.
Mr Grandmaître: Okay. Follow-up, Chris?
The Chair: No more questions from the opposition?
Mr Grandmaître: Not for now.
Mr Stockwell: As I read up on the American land trust process, I was left that there were no entitlements involved from the government; there was no money involved from the government per se. Generally land was assembled through the trust or through some other third party. Market value was paid in instances where it was had or it was government land that they reciprocated by buying it. Is that a fair statement?
Mr Harstone: No, I wouldn't say it was a fair statement. There was absolutely no government assistance. What has happened recently is that governments have seen the land trust as being a solution and have provided support for the development of land trusts. There have been a number of cases where the land trusts have been given abandoned houses where the municipalities have taken over for tax purposes. By and large, the land trusts have received some government assistance, but it's not assistance to develop the housing. A lot of it has been assistance in getting organized, getting set up.
Mr Stockwell: I appreciate that.
Mr Harstone: But there's very, very little assistance --
Mr Stockwell: Actual money changing hands.
Mr Harstone: Little money changing hands?
Mr Stockwell: From the government --
Mr Harstone: Oh, the government's not passing money over to the land trust. That's true.
Mr Stockwell: Right. And the land trust itself is set up with a board. They then assemble the property --
Mr Harstone: Yes.
Mr Stockwell: -- then figure out the actual costs, because they've got to service this debt, and then they parcel up the properties individually to the prospective land owners. Is that --
Mr Harstone: To the prospective tenants, or to the lessors, yes, the people who are buying the houses.
By and large, one of the major differences between what's going to happen on the island and in the States is that in the States they're not being asked to buy the land up front. They are being charged a lease price, and what they generally do is write it down to being very, very little. It's almost a lease price based on your ability to buy.
Mr Stockwell: Like a mortgage.
Mr Harstone: No, not at all. No, I'm sorry --
Mr Stockwell: Well, as I understand it, it's built like a mortgage: You pay more in the beginning and it's reduced.
Mr Harstone: No. In fact, I think you'll find that the typical community land trust in the States will write in that the monthly lease rate on the land is $500 a month and they forgive it or drop it down to $20 or $50.
Mr Stockwell: How do they service their debt then?
Mr Harstone: They don't, generally speaking, have any debt on the land. They've been able to get the land at very, very low prices.
Mr Grandmaître: It's all crown land?
Mr Harstone: They don't have crowns any more. They have been given it by the municipalities because it has been abandoned or the land has -- the land costs in the States are significantly lower than Toronto, which is one of the differences, so the land is carried for much, much less than it is here.
The other thing about a general -- what occurs often is that a number of different people within the community, businesses, corporations, are buying up the land and they're giving it to the land trust. This is the only way these things are actually working.
Mr Stockwell: Last question, Mr Chair. I suppose that's the point I was driving at. The cost of the land assembling is marginal, to say the least.
Mr Harstone: Yes.
Mr Stockwell: As you said, it's abandoned buildings or recouped through taxation, through non-payment of taxes.
If you assess value for these lots, some have suggested they're anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000 per lot. How then would you expect the owner of this property, ie, Metropolitan Toronto, to recoup its money, if it's $250,000 to $500,000 per lot, back through a land trust format?
Mr Harstone: I think they should give it back to the city of Toronto, which gave it to them in the first place.
Mr Stockwell: But they don't want to give it back.
Mr Harstone: No, no. What happened is the city of Toronto gave the land to Metro. In fact, it appears the Indians gave it to the city of Toronto.
Mr Stockwell: Well, maybe.
Mr Harstone: Maybe we should be passing this money back to the native community.
Mr Stockwell: Maybe, but the fact is they gave them the land for a buck because --
Mr Harstone: If we're going to be talking about --
Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Let him finish, Chris.
Mr Stockwell: I just want to be clear. They gave them the land for a buck because it was a huge headache in the 1950s and they passed it to Metro, much like they passed the Canadian National Exhibition, which was losing money. They passed it to Metro for a buck, which assumed control and all the losses.
Mr Harstone: I thought that was leased land from the crown.
Mr Stockwell: This is what took place in the 1950s. Metro, the owner, is different from the American owners. Metro, being the owner, doesn't want to give the land up. They want value for their land or they want to make it park.
Mr Harstone: If you're telling me that the value of that parkland on there is -- how many residents are there on the island?
Mr Stockwell: About 250.
Mr Harstone: About 258 houses or whatever? Let's say it's 80 houses, and you're saying that, gosh, that works out to $16 million. I think the value of parkland you've just put on the Toronto Islands is a bit high on the parkland value. I'd say that parkland prices right now, from my experience, we're running in the greater Toronto area about maybe $250,000 an acre. If the municipality's going to take it off a developer, they're going to pay the developer about $250,000 an acre.
Mr Stockwell: But it's park. This is developed housing.
Mr Harstone: No, no, no. You're talking about it as parkland for Metro. Metro had it as park, and they said, "What's the value of parkland?" The parkland value's $250,000 an acre.
Mr Stockwell: Forget it.
Mr Harstone: I'm just saying that for Metro --
Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): You can't have it both ways.
Mr Harstone: I agree, but if you want to know the --
Mr Turnbull: You're trying to have it both ways.
Mr Harstone: I'm not trying to have it either way.
Mr Stockwell: You want to call it park and say it's worth $250,000 an acre, yet you want to put 250 homes on it. Then it's worth $250,000 a home. You can't do it both ways.
Mr Harstone: No, no. What's the land value? The land value isn't $250,000.
Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chairman --
The Chair: Yes, Mr Mammoliti. I agree.
Mr Stockwell: On the open market it would be on these homes.
Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chairman, a little bit of control.
Mr Stockwell: If you went to the open market, it would be worth $250,000 a home to Metro. There's no debate about it. That's a fact.
Mr Harstone: Yes, there would be. I'm sorry. I will debate that. I do not believe that is the current value. Do you have an appraisal which says you can get that kind of price for that lot?
Mr Stockwell: Yes, there are appraisals from Metropolitan Toronto and the city of Toronto that suggest the homes are valued at X amount of money, which is significantly more than $36,000.
Mr Harstone: No, no, no, I'm talking about the lot. You're only talking the lot, right?
Mr Stockwell: Yes.
Mr Harstone: That would be an awful lot for an unserviced lot.
Mr Stockwell: Of course it is, but live in Metro Toronto. It costs you an awful lot of money.
Mr Harstone: I'm sorry. I live in Metro Toronto and I know what house prices are. I also happen to know that the house I live in dropped 50% in value from 1920 to 1940, went up again and went down.
Mr Stockwell: Okay. Say it's $150,000.
Mr Harstone: Even that I think is a bit high for an unserviced lot.
Mr Stockwell: It's serviced with sewage. It's serviced. Look, if you put these on the open market, you're going to get $200,000 a pop for a home on the island. Very few people who are going to debate that with you; there's just not a lot of debate. People would buy them, sure, and use them as cottages per se, but Metro would receive $200,000 a pop. If you went into any park in Metro and decided to parcel it up as building units, you'd get that kind of dough, because it's a nice setting to live in for the summer. There's a lot of money in this city and people would pay it.
Mr Harstone: It depends on the limits that are put on what can be built there. Yes, I suspect you can make an enormous amount of money if you say, "You can build a monster home there if you don't get your cottage." I don't think people are going to pay $250,000 to continue living in a cottage. People who are paying that kind of money for lots up in North York generally rip down the little cottage that was there and build something at 4,000 square feet.
Mr Stockwell: I completely disagree with that. I'd like to get those properties for $36,000, parcel them up and sell them off for $250,000. I'd be very wealthy.
Mr Grandmaître: Is this a deal?
The Chair: Order. Mr Marchese.
Mr Marchese: I'm going to try to give John an opportunity to speak uninterrupted after my comments.
Part of my understanding, which is clearly laid out in everything we've done, is that Metro gets its share. They're getting an equivalent amount of land in the Lakeshore area and other arrangements they've made. As far as I know, they're happy with that. Chris doesn't seem to be happy and I suspect some other members of Metro are not happy because they want them out, although Chris is saying he doesn't want the islanders out -- I think he said that before in the Legislature -- that he's looking for a different kind of arrangement.
Mr Stockwell: Through attrition we'll get them out.
Mr Marchese: Oh, through attrition. So he does want them out. Okay, that's a bit clearer.
Metro will be getting its fair share in terms of equivalent land. The city will be getting its $12 million that it has paid in rent over the many years, which I think is a fair exchange of dollars based on what has happened over the years. So I don't see this as an unfair arrangement for anybody in terms of who should be paid off and how all of that has happened.
But the question I want to raise with you -- because Mr Stockwell raises this, and I think it confuses the whole issue; he may not, but I think it does -- is that what we're discussing here are two different kinds of things: freehold and leasehold. Freehold means you own the house and the land; leasehold means you own the home but not the land. Mr Stockwell makes the assumption that the two are the same: "Some city person's land is worth this much, and why isn't this home on the island worth the same?" He compares them in similar ways. If you have freehold, which means you own the house and the land, but leasehold means you just own the home but not the land, it's very different. That is why Mr Johnston created the financial arrangement he did, recognizing -- I don't know if Chris is listening -- limited ownership.
Mr Stockwell: I've heard it before and I don't agree with it.
Mr Marchese: Well, that's the difference. Our assumptions are different and that's why we come to different conclusions. This is why it's making it affordable to a lot of people on the island, who are not as wealthy as Chris says, where there's an equal distribution of wealthy and poor as in his riding, as I've said before, which he fails to recognize. Do you have the same understanding as I do on this issue?
Mr Harstone: Oh, yes.
Mr Stockwell: Does that mean you guys are equally confused?
Mr Marchese: That's because you weren't listening, Chris.
Mr Harstone: I think that the lots on the Lakeshore hospital are probably worth $250,000, so that's a fair deal for Metro.
Mr Stockwell: They probably are, but you can't build a house on the Lakeshore site.
Mr Marchese: John, I asked you a question. Chris is not asking the question. If you want to add some remarks to what I said, focus here.
Mr Harstone: I agree with you. I think it's a fair deal. In fact, I think it is a remarkably good deal. I feel there are provisions put in to deal with the affordability issues. If people can't afford it, they can sell it to the co-op and the co-op can come up with a way of providing rent-geared-to-income assistance to them. I think that solves a major issue around affordability. I think it's extremely fair to have those particular prices.
My only concern would be the corporation itself, how it's going to get its ongoing funding. It's going to get a chunk of money up front, but it has long-term responsibilities. I think that needs to be addressed, but I think that will be addressed over the next five or 10 years as people work out the wrinkles in this.
I think it's an extremely good scheme. I think we in Ontario should be very proud to be doing this kind of pioneering effort around developing affordable housing through leasehold. I have a hunch this is how all the government lands should have been dealt with, rather than by some of these strange schemes they have come up with where the developer is being asked to sell it off, "We want you to sell a town house for $125,000," and turn it around and it can be sold for whatever in the market. You could have said right from the beginning, with all that government land, the MGS land, "Let's do this leasehold, and we'll put in a perpetual lease of some sort which allows there to be limits on speculative gain."
Mr Marchese: John, I would have liked to continue on that, but I want to comment on the point you made about a third of the board of the trust being elected from the general community in one instance and then from the general membership. I didn't know they did that. I'm interested in pursuing it here in this land trust. If you have just one clipping, one piece of paper, that talks about that, could you pass it on to us?
Mr Harstone: Sure.
Mr Marchese: Thanks a lot.
The Chair: Ms Swarbrick.
Ms Swarbrick: Thank you, Mr Harstone. I think your presentation has been excellent and very helpful. Part of where it's been very helpful is in clarifying what the different interests are that sit at this table. You clarified that not only is the value of property determined by its use, whether it's allowed to go for its highest value use or whether it's allowed to go for maintaining a community that has a very different level of servicing and what have you than other communities do; you've also clarified that the interests at this table are twofold. One is to protect a community and to provide affordable housing; the other is to ensure that land is allowed to go to the highest bidder for the highest purpose and therefore for the use of those with the greatest economic power in our society. I think that's very important, to show the difference in perspectives being presented today by Mr Stockwell and by our government.
Mr Stockwell: Just a point of clarification: It's so unfair --
Ms Swarbrick: There's no such thing as a point of clarification.
The Chair: Mr Stockwell, you don't have the floor.
Mr Stockwell: A park is the lowest value you can place on a land.
Ms Swarbrick: You don't want it as a park, because you're claiming $300,000 a lot is the value --
The Chair: Mr Stockwell. Ms Swarbrick. It is very helpful if discussion goes through the Chair and it's with the witness.
Mr Stockwell: I want it as a park, where the public owns the space, and you're making it housing. That's one of the most expensive.
The Chair: Order. Mr Harstone actually should have an opportunity to answer.
Mr Harstone: I agree with you. Thank you very much.
The Chair: Further questions? Mr Turnbull.
Mr Turnbull: I just want to point this out to you and ask your comments: In London, England, where it isn't uncommon to buy the stub of a lease -- in many cases I've seen 27 or 28 years left on a lease. You're buying a house, usually in a reasonably desirable location, and it isn't unusual to be paying _100,000 or _200,000, which is between $200,000 and $400,000, for a desirable location, and you're only getting 28 years. So how on earth can you make these statements that you think this is a fair price being put on these?
Mr Harstone: The question in London particularly is an interesting one. If you've got a 28-year stub left on it and you have the traditional lease which says that at the end of the 28 years the landlord, which in this case might be all sorts of different and strange people, including the church or a college in Oxford, has the house, you've probably overpaid at _200,000, definitely. If, however, you have the idea that what you're going to do after you buy that is go to court to have the leasehold struck out, which has been happening in London on a regular basis now because of the way that some of the earlier leases have been written, then you get it converted to freehold.
Mr Turnbull: I can assure you that the majority of them are not being struck down. There may be some where the paperwork hasn't been terribly well done, but the majority are certainly holding up. We're not talking here about a flawed piece of legal work; we're talking about the market value of this.
Mr Harstone: I find it very, very difficult to believe that anybody would spend _200,000 on a house that had 27 years remaining in the lease before they had to give up vacant possession. That is certainly beyond my understanding --
Mr Turnbull: You don't have to understand it; it's simply a fact. It's a fact, and anybody who can read the newspapers would be acquainted with that. I don't suggest that you're in the regular habit of reading the British newspapers, but I can assure you that is the case. My point is that in no shape or form does this address what the market value of these units is.
Mr Harstone: Their market value must be well in excess of _1 million. I mean, at 27 years left, the traditional approach taken by appraisers --
Mr Turnbull: I'm talking about the market value of the lease.
Mr Harstone: But I'm just saying the market value of that house without a lease must be absolutely phenomenal, because normally, with 27 years left on a lease, if you took that to an appraiser, he'd say, "This is the kind of discount you should be getting." You are looking at an incredible discount for --
Mr Turnbull: Excuse me, are you qualified as an appraiser?
Mr Harstone: No, I'm not. I'm telling you what appraisers tell me. I'm telling you that a 49-year lease is often discounted by 40%; a 27-year lease will be discounted often by 60% or 70%. These are just the rules of thumb I've been told. If the same holds true for England, I would say that that _200,000 would have had to be discounted by perhaps 60%.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Harstone and Mr Turnbull. You've all engendered a spirited debate.
TORONTO ISLAND RESIDENTS' ASSOCIATION
The Chair: The next presentation is by the Toronto Island Residents' Association, Mr Bruce Lewis, solicitor. Welcome to the committee.
Mr Bruce Lewis: My name is Bruce Lewis. I'm the lawyer for the Toronto Island Residents' Association. I'm here to speak to you about just one point, which is the constitution of the land trust. I've done a submission, which I guess is being circulated, and suggested some proposed amendments.
In addition to those points, in the submission I mention a couple of places where we take issue with the request of the city solicitor when he spoke to you yesterday. We got a copy of his brief and critiqued a couple of points in it. I don't propose to address those orally.
In a way, it's very fortuitous that I'm appearing just after John Harstone, because we approach the problem in a somewhat similar way and also a somewhat different way.
I would evaluate this proposal as a type of limited equity ownership system. You don't have to go to the States for a limited equity ownership system. The municipality of Metropolitan Toronto is currently developing a project in the Malvern area of Scarborough where it's selling units on a limited equity basis. In a way, that's a good comparable to this, because it's very similar in many respects.
The theory behind this would be that the traditional housing systems for providing housing in Ontario have been through a Ministry of Housing program providing large direct subsidies and no occupant equity. The only alternative is the market. There is probably an area in between where you can ask people for limited equity but not full equity. In return for the fact that they don't contribute the full equity, they don't get the full benefits of the market. That's what Metro's done at its Malvern project, and that's what this is. The city of Toronto has done a study on this sort of thing, though I don't know if it's going anywhere.
The essential hallmarks of this type of housing program would have to be these:
The residents make an equity investment of some kind.
The residents are only entitled to a limited return on their equity. In times of inflation, this would produce prices that are significantly below market, so the housing would continue to be affordable as it's resold over the years.
There might or might not be a guarantee of the investment. In the case of Metro, an agency of the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto is in fact guaranteeing the price, which isn't the case here. People will be vulnerable to a drop in market.
The people who live in the housing, although they have their rights of sale controlled -- so they're not full owners in that sense -- have normal rights of occupancy and use. They can do anything any other citizen can do, except for the fact that you do have to limit it, because (1) you're normally in this to achieve certain social goals, so for that reason you want them to be principal residences, which is what this is limited to, and (2) you normally don't want these used as investments, so you have to have controls to limit investment.
It's an element we can discuss later about these comparisons with market sales, but there's an inherent difference here. People get a limited return on their equity, they can't make full use of their housing the way people normally can and they can't use it as an investment. You have to have mechanisms in place to ensure that there are no under-the-table deals, that whatever the rules are governing the allowable takeout price for the residents, they're observed, and you usually have to have mechanisms in place to control the quality of the housing.
If you own a condominium unit, you maintain it, and the condominium unit owners collectively maintain the condominium, because they need to to keep up the market value if for no other reason. If the resale price is independent of the market value, that mechanism doesn't work any more. So if you're doing a system like this, you have to have relatively intrusive controls to ensure adequate maintenance and repair. All these are features of the project that's being done by the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto now.
When Richard Johnston put this plan together, he was reacting to a certain set of historical circumstances on the islands that made doing something about it important, but the proposal he made is in fact a species of proposal that could have a very long run applicability to providing alternative means of housing people that don't have the same level of cost that present government policies do.
I'm not familiar with the American ones. I don't know to what extent they have any applicability for Canada. I do know the limited equity co-ops being done by Metro, the one the city has this report on and the ones that other people have contemplated doing -- there are various churches in the field -- are very hard to do under existing laws. They're very legally complex. Ultimately, if this is going to be a government policy at some point, you're going to have to do legislation on it.
As far as I know, this is the first legislative system in Ontario that deals with this sort of housing. It seems to me that's a very important reason to get it right, because this may well be, for various historical accidents, a pilot project and a different way that people can relate to housing.
As I said earlier, the normal liberties of people are considerably infringed by this system. Right from the beginning, the investment potential of their house, which is every Canadian's dream, is significantly reduced. Their personal rights of use are reduced: they have to live there; they have only limited rights not to live there; they can't use it as an investment. They may have controls on maintenance, repair and the like.
In addition, on the islands in particular but probably in any of these systems, there's a right to levy fees and charges for the purpose of keeping up the trust, performing the trust activity. There's a right to levy a charge on any turnover. These are in effect taxes the trust will be levying on the people who live on the islands.
These are all appropriate limitations in this kind of system, to implement the public policy of keeping the housing affordable and below market in the long term. But the limitations on the individual liberty of the people living there aren't acceptable if they're imposed. So a feature of this plan should be -- it's a feature of the Metro one in a somewhat different way, and it should be of all such plans -- that essentially the people who live there have a right to control the housing and the community with appropriate safeguards for the public interest.
The system recommended by Richard Johnston was that there be a non-profit corporation set up. I must say I was surprised when I saw the bill. It wasn't a typical non-profit corporation. The thought everyone drew out of Richard's report was that there was to be a non-profit corporation, perhaps incorporated under part III of the Corporations Act, as most charities and non-profits are, with a membership consisting of the island residents and the normal corporate procedures whereby the directors would be elected by the residents, the budget would be approved by the residents, the bylaws would be adopted by the residents, the pet policy, if there is one, would be approved by the residents and various other things.
Condominiums are a good example. All the same issues of personal relations will come up here as come up in a condominium, where there is an opportunity for control by the owners, and with a certain proportion of the board being appointed by public bodies to protect the public interest. That's set out on pages 20 and 21 of Richard Johnston's report.
That isn't in fact what we've got here. What we've got here is kind of like a board or commission, where the Lieutenant Governor in Council appoints the board. The regulations say that two thirds of them will be island residents. There's no statement as to how the island residents are chosen. There's nothing in the regulations about that at all, no procedure, nothing about their terms of office, nothing about what happens if islanders are unhappy with their representatives and want to recall them. There's just no accountability. It's merely a statement that they happen to live there and that one third is to be other, undefined people chosen by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
It doesn't seem to me appropriate to set up a system like this that is designed to both provide an alternative housing tenure system that might do a good deal as an example towards solving the housing problems in Ontario and a system that's designed to get rid of all these animosities that the island has been involved with over years and years, and get people, the islanders, the city, Metro, back on a regular, normal relationship such as other communities enjoy with the city. Basically, the islanders have to be able to trust the trust. The system is not going to work if the trust is somebody else. The trust has to be them, the islanders, with appropriate public input. That's what Richard Johnston said. That's all that's going to work.
I'll give you an example. Suppose the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, in making its recommendation to the Lieutenant Governor in Council as to who to appoint, says to the islanders, "Who should we appoint?" Do we hold elections? Are the islanders going to hold elections every few years for people to recommend to the minister?
If so, we now have an association, the Toronto Islands Residents Association, of which all the islanders are members. Is that association going to stay in existence? What's its role going to be vis-à-vis the trust? There's only a limited amount of community volunteer time. It's fair to say from my observation in the last few months since I was retained by them that there's a lot of burnout among that particular community. There are a lot of people who put in endless hours on a voluntary basis, and we seem to be creating another body and leaving other bodies left.
I can't see any harm to the public interest at all if we do what Richard Johnston suggested. Ideally, we'd recommend a true membership organization. It's typical; there are many of them around, where the members were the people who lived on the island. It could be governed by the Corporations Act, with whatever changes were necessary and a right to appoint some portion of the board by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
I recognize that may be a difficult amendment to make in committee, so we've got an appendix here that suggests an alternative way of doing it. Essentially, the alternative way is to say that the trust will pass bylaws, set up terms of office, hold elections and make its own bylaws to deal with approval by the islanders, and the people the trust elects will be a certain proportion of the board, and the Lieutenant Governor in Council will appoint the balance. I think that with some fairly minor amendments to the existing statute, such a position could be brought into place, and it could preserve the public interest as well as the islanders'.
I want to have a word on the number of outside representatives. I've suggested in these amendments 16 board members, of whom 12 would be islanders and 4 would be outside people. I think that 75% is a reasonable ratio. The fact is that it's hard to get people to meetings. You've got to have a quorum. Most of what they're going to talk about is going to be nitty-gritty that's of concern to islanders.
I think you've got to have a good quorum so that you have a real working majority that's islanders. Those who are the public representatives will get notice of the meetings, notice of the agenda, ample input into important matters and so on. I think the regulation proposes 15, of which 5 are outside and 10 are islanders. I think that 75% would be a better ratio, with 12 islanders and 4 outside.
In terms of accountability to the island community, I have observed that the Toronto Islands Residents Association and its relationship with the community is an unusually vibrant non-profit organization. It's not one where the board of the executive makes the decision: They don't move without a community meeting, which is attended by an enormous number of people. It's a very healthy, democratic organization. Any system that doesn't preserve that is destructive. We have the infrastructure in place and there's no question it's going to be successful, but the system has to adapt to it.
The proposal I'm making would in effect, instead of doing it by incorporation documents, allow the trust to pass bylaws such as, "The budget will be submitted annually to a meeting of residents who will vote on it," and, "The trust won't adopt anything unless it's approved by the residents," or where you could put recall rights: The trust would fire a director or all the directors if it felt they were inadequate, other than the publicly appointed ones of course.
I think that rewriting the act in that way is not a very large change, but I think it would make all the difference to the ultimate success of the trust, both as a limited equity housing project and in terms of finally putting behind us all the animosities that have gathered over the islands over the years. Any questions, Mr Chair?
The Chair: I'm sure there are. We'll begin with the government caucus.
Mr Marchese: We'll come back.
The Chair: Okay, then we'll try the Liberal caucus.
Mr Grandmaître: Let's talk about the corporate structure of the trust. Did you have a chance to discuss these possible amendments with Mr Johnston?
Mr Lewis: No, I've never discussed them with him, although they do follow his report quite literally. If you look at pages 20 and 21, the act is out of step with his report, but I have not personally had a discussion with him on this.
Mr Grandmaître: Your idea of having 75% of island tenants or owners on the board sounds reasonable, but at the same time I'm sure this government will want a say on this board. You don't talk about a veto, you talk about bylaws. Would you want to give these people a veto?
Mr Lewis: The said 25% public representatives?
Mr Grandmaître: Yes.
Mr Lewis: In principle, it doesn't bother me too much. You could define certain areas that had a broader public interest. I just know the bulk of the agenda is going to deal with stuff that anybody in the city couldn't give a damn about, but it might well be possible -- I haven't thought this through -- to define certain areas that have a broader public interest where, if not a veto, you'd need 90% of the votes on the board to pass something or other. I think quite certainly that would be a possibility. It requires some more thought.
Mr Grandmaître: If you don't have a veto, you become a rubber stamp and that's it.
Mr Lewis: I'm not sure you're right. You have to remember that the act fairly well constrains what the trust is going to do. Essentially, what things are you worried about in terms of what the trust is going to do? I think the act gives the trust limitations, so I'm not too worried about things going wrong.
Mr Grandmaître: Don't ask me about my worries. I'm asking you about your worries. Why would you like to amend the --
Mr Lewis: As I said, I felt the input by the people who live there wasn't strong enough. Then your point was, could there be situations where, if my recommendation is followed, the input by the people who don't live there isn't strong enough? I was saying essentially that in principle, if that could be identified, you could certainly define areas where you'd set up a stronger level of control.
I'm not very worried about the possibility you raise, because the act limits what the trust can do. For instance, we had a discussion with the staff about what the purpose of the trust was. It's quite limited, what its objects are, and I find it difficult to believe there's much it could do that would be inconsistent with the public interest.
Mr Turnbull: Quite clearly, as solicitor for the island residents' association, it's very obvious the kinds of answers you're going to give. I must say that from the outset.
I view this particular issue we're studying here in two separate segments. One is the question as to whether, in the long term, residents should be allowed. Setting that aside, the second issue that probably disturbs me the most is the question of the financial aspects of it.
In your opening remarks, you spoke about keeping costs below market in the long term. Given the fact that you have many professional people with rather significant incomes on the island, I would ask why you would be keeping costs below the market in the long term.
Mr Lewis: If you were setting up this type of system to deal with affordable housing problems generally, one of the questions you would ask is what type of income and other admission controls you impose. Here, we're dealing with an existing community. Richard Johnston has an income profile in his report, and it's not a wealthy community by any means. I haven't studied the statistics. My clients advise me, though, that on the whole it's probably somewhat below the average income for Toronto. Go look at the houses. Wealthy people do not live there.
In the future, who is going to buy? The way the system works is that it's going to be a waiting list, so it's first come, first served. That system was proposed by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, I think specifically because it didn't want any cheating. They wanted to say: "First come, first served. There are no judgements, there's no cheating. Whoever is first on the list gets it, and you have it." Now, we don't know what the income of the person who is first on the list is going to be. You're absolutely right on that. It may well be that that person is wealthy. I think it's exceedingly unlikely, because given the nature of the housing, that's just not going to happen.
At the beginning, I addressed the utility of this type of system as a broader contribution to solving housing problems. If there were a lot of housing available like this, then prices generally would be lower. You would take an element of the market out of housing. In that sense, it doesn't matter who buys the house. As long as prices are kept low, ultimately housing would become more affordable, more affordable to the poor and more affordable to the rich.
Mr Turnbull: So you view what is happening on the Toronto Islands as ultimately a vehicle by which we're going to ratchet down the value of houses right across Metro?
Mr Lewis: It's one possible aspect. Only if more of it's done, of course, not just this project. I was using it as a test case.
Mr Turnbull: I smell more of the socialist rat here now than I thought there was in the beginning.
Mr Mammoliti: You have a wonderful way with people, you know that?
Mr Turnbull: George, it's amazing. Before, you were complaining about interruptions, and now you're doing it yourself.
The Chair: Mr Turnbull, through the Chair.
Mr Turnbull: You spoke about the fact that these were just to be principal residences. As you're retained by the Toronto Island residents, I don't expect maybe to get a fully clear answer on this, but you're aware that many people may claim that this is their principal residence but it isn't. They've done up the inside of these cottages quite well. Some of these people, I can assure you, don't even know how they got the residence in the first place. I've heard some rather interesting stories about how people moved in, somebody lent it to them for the summer and then suddenly they got to have a stake in the issue. These people are not living there. No matter how you cut it, they're not living there. How do you build a system to guarantee that these are people's principal residences?
Mr Lewis: I don't know what evidence you have on which you base your statement about people not living there. I'm aware there are people around who feel odd about the history of how people have gotten to be the residents. That's why the bill appoints an island commissioner who is going to adjudicate on all those issues. The island commissioner will consider traditional legal principles and non-traditional ones and will make some decision. I don't know who that will be; I hope he or she has the wisdom of Solomon, whoever it is. That will deal with the issue of those people who are concerned that they lost their house because some tenant pinched it on them.
In terms of whether they've fixed them up quite nicely, I've been in some that are fixed up quite nicely, but I tell you, this is modest housing. It just is. Go look and make an unbiased judgement. It's relatively modest housing.
How do you make it the principal residence? Well, if they breach the act, they're committing an offence. The act says it has to be their principal residence. If it isn't their principal residence now, they'd better sell it, because they have to do it.
Mr Turnbull: If they've got an apartment in the city and they live six months of the year on the island and six months here, how would you be able to differentiate?
Mr Lewis: The bill uses the income tax definition, which has its own problems, but it's the one adopted by the federal government and by the Ontario government in terms of personal income tax. It does mean they won't be able to make a capital gain on both, so it's more than simply a declaration.
Mr Turnbull: Turning to another point you made about the loss of investment potential when they bought it, I would point out the fact that to the extent they're paying much, much less for the land than would otherwise be the case if they bought a home anywhere in Metro Toronto, if they have extra money to invest, they will be able to put it in some sort of vehicle and be able to get at least as good a return, if not better.
Mr Lewis: I don't think you're right. First, people who invest in houses where they can get the full market return and make their fortune have the following advantages: They have high leverage, because they can get conventional mortgages where they put 5% or 10% down. All the people on the island are going to get after this first round of loan guarantee is out are personal loans. We're going to try to get the mortgages, but I've tried this before with the lending community, and it probably won't recognize this as a conventional mortgageable unit. So they won't get the benefit of leverage that the average person gets when he or she buys a house of the same quality downtown. Secondly --
Mr Turnbull: But nobody buys a house with at same sort of price downtown.
Mr Lewis: Let me go through. First, they won't get the leverage: They'll have to put in more cash for a smaller unit; they won't get the leverage. Do your financial analysis, and you'll discover that the main reason people make their fortune on single-family homes is because of the leverage.
Mr Turnbull: Excuse me. With the difference in price, they can invest in another home and rent it out.
Mr Lewis: No, sir. Let's say you buy a $150,000 home in Toronto and you put $15,000 down. You go and get a mortgage for $135,000 --
Mr Turnbull: Excuse me. You don't buy for $150,000 and put $15,000 down.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Turnbull.
Mr Lewis: Whatever; you give me the figures. Whatever the down payment you're doing, you then go and get a mortgage for the rest. It's not your own money; it's the mortgagee's money that you're normally using. You pay the mortgage payments.
People on the island will have to do the same thing. They'll have the equity of their houses. They'll have to pay for their land and they'll have to pay for the repairs required by the act, plus the more extensive repairs that many of them will want or will have done in order to bring it up to the building code. So they will have a loan too. Their loan is going to be more costly. The thing that's important in real estate is what your monthly payments are. Their monthly payment for the same-value house is going to be significantly more than the other person's.
Mr Turnbull: Baloney. Absolute baloney.
Mr Lewis: Use some figures; work it out.
Mr Turnbull: I have.
The Chair: Order, Mr Turnbull. Mr Mammoliti.
Mr Mammoliti: "Tory MPP Chris Stockwell charged the government has cut a good deal for well-to-do `lawyers, doctors and civil servants' living on the islands." How many lawyers live on the islands?
Mr Lewis: I have no idea.
Mr Stockwell: You want to know?
Mr Mammoliti: Yes.
Mr Stockwell: Well, I know one.
The Chair: The conversation is supposed to be between Mr Lewis and Mr Mammoliti.
Mr Mammoliti: How many lawyers, doctors or civil servants?
Mr Lewis: I don't know. We have some other island representatives who will be appearing before you. Maybe one can answer. I don't know that.
Mr Mammoliti: Of the 250 residents on the island --
Mr Lewis: There are 250 houses. There are about 600-odd residents.
Mr Mammoliti: On an average, can you tell me how many of the 600 residents are professionals?
Mr Lewis: I don't have any sense of that at all. I'm sorry.
Mr Mammoliti: Appearing in yesterday's paper was a quote from his as well asking if allowing professionals to live for a buck a day for 100 years is fair. I need to know how many of these professionals live on the island because I need to know whether or not Mr Stockwell's point is legitimate in my eyes. From meeting people and talking with them in the hallways and meeting some of the residents, I think it would be a small amount, if there is an amount at all, in terms of professional people.
Mr Lewis: Richard Johnston does have income figures in his report. As far as I know, they're accurate, and I think they are below the national average.
Mr Mammoliti: What's the average wage?
Mr Lewis: Of households, 20.5% are low-income versus 13.1% Metro-wide; 16% of households are single-parent versus 12.7% Metro-wide; 22.1% have household incomes of under $20,000, 70% under $50,000, 14.4% over $70,000. Maybe those 14.4% are the doctors, lawyers and undesirables.
Mr Mammoliti: So we can assume that the 14% are the doctors and lawyers.
Mr Lewis: I guess so.
Mr Mammoliti: I'm not even too sure. I don't know how many doctors make less than $70,000, or lawyers, for that matter, unless they are MPPs.
Mr Lewis: There's a basic element in the premise of the way you put it. You said that doctors, lawyers and other unworthies are getting property at a dollar a day.
Mr Mammoliti: This was a quote by Mr Stockwell.
Mr Lewis: But I'm going to answer his point.
Mr Stockwell: I didn't say "unworthies."
Mr Lewis: No, I said "unworthies," but I took your implication; sorry. The dollar a day is, after all, pretty much a nonsensical statement. They're not going to be paying a dollar a day; they're going to be paying $46,000. They have to go to the bank and borrow, and they have to pay the same interest and the same monthly payments on $46,000 as anybody else does. If they have to improve the house, they're going to have to borrow the money for that, or if they have other money in the bank, they'll be paying the same thing.
Or maybe a dollar a day is a heavy price compared to Hazelton Lanes. I happened to be watching the Legislature where one of Mr Stockwell's colleagues mentioned how Hazelton Lanes is a leasehold project where they go for much more, but their term is 1,000 years. So divide their land component by --
Mr Turnbull: No, it isn't 1,000 years.
The Chair: Mr Turnbull, it would be helpful --
Mr Mammoliti: Mr Chairman, no matter what committee I sit on, this gentleman happens to sit across from me and he --
The Chair: Mr Mammoliti.
Mr Mammoliti: What am I supposed to do about this?
Are you aware of the yacht club on the island?
Mr Lewis: I'm aware there is one.
Mr Mammoliti: Do you know how much those yachters are currently paying for --
Mr Lewis: I have no idea what the yachters are paying or what their income profile is.
Mr Mammoliti: That's a question I had; I certainly would like to find out.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mammoliti.
Mr Mammoliti: I want to get to the --
The Chair: I know you do, but your time has expired.
Thank you, Mr Lewis, for appearing before us today. We appreciate your presentation. Again, it's been a lively discussion.
Ms Swarbrick: On a point of order, Mr Chair: We've lost some time because of the constant interjections of the two members of the Conservative Party, so I'd like to ask for an extra two minutes so that I may ask a question; time we've lost because of those interruptions.
The Chair: You might note that your party actually waived its time at the beginning of the discussion.
Ms Swarbrick: No, we did ask if you could come back to us.
The Chair: Well, we work on rotation, and we have further presenters to go. I would remind members that discussion should be through the Chair at all times.
The Chair: The next presentation will be from William Rosart. Good morning, Mr Rosart. You've been allocated 15 minutes by the committee for your presentation. We always appreciate some time for discussion. I know you've been here this morning, so you've seen that the discussion can be lively. Anyway, you may begin.
Mr William Rosart: I come to this committee today reluctantly. Sometimes I feel that speaking out against the Toronto Islanders is going against public opinion. However, I believe public opinion has been swayed by a well-orchestrated lobby, as has been shown by the hearings in the past two days and will be shown tomorrow.
There are two types of islanders. There are, first, those who've been on the islands for years, and those who recently arrived, roughly 10 years ago. An informal survey I've done of the Might city directory for 1992 shows a random sampling of 55 of 250 homes: In those figures, 10 had no tenure information, 21 had moved to the islands since 1985, 16 had moved from 1979 to 1984, and only seven were what you would call long-term residents, having been there before 1978. This figure, incidentally, does not match the 65% figure claimed by the Johnston report.
A look at the occupations of people on Ward's and Algonquin include printer, graphic designer, professor, teacher, executive assistant, city councillor and retired. The average family income on the islands is $41,200. This income would translate into a $1,030 rent in subsidized housing, for which there are numerous vacancies in Toronto.
Obviously, these people are not in need of assisted housing and would probably not qualify for it in many cases. So why is the province giving such a minimal rent deal to these people of $30 per month? Taxes on an apartment I lived in on the Toronto waterfront, where I paid full rent, which is partially Metropolitan Toronto Housing Authority integrated, were about $200 a month, and we received probably less services than sometimes the islanders obtain.
Mr Johnston begins his report by saying his mission is to advise the government of "the fairest way to ensure the preservation of a residential community on the Toronto Islands." I ask, at what cost to other taxpayers?
In Mr Johnston's report, he began with a number of assumptions:
"(c) The ownership of the existing houses should revert to the islanders." I ask why?
"(d) Housing on this public land should not be used or exchanged for individual profit." The speaker before me refers to the plan as essentially a condominium proposal. I don't think that's what this committee has in mind. This has already been done with some of the new islanders buying houses for as high as $140,000 -- for houses only, not land. This can be found on page 39 of Mr Johnston's report.
"(f) No solution should be at the expense of the Metro taxpayer." Already a $5.4-million school is planned to be built on the other side of the island, because residents do not want it in their area, which will require busing on the part of the school board. A $1.6-million allocation for the science school is not included in that figure, making the total cost $7 million. Final approvals for funding are still being sought.
The number of children on Toronto Islands has continually decreased. In 1986 there were 70 of school age, and the reality is that children across the water at Bathurst Quay, Maple Leaf Quay and Harbour Square -- yes, children going to public schools live in Harbour Square in Toronto -- now amount to close to 300, and they are attending about 35 different schools, because what little capital school dollars are available are being spent on the island. I point out that some children from the waterfront area do go to the island, but as a general rule, they are excluded from attending what must be Ontario's only public private school.
Another example of additional costs to the taxpayer would be in additional ferry costs. We currently do not have a suitable ferry that can operate when the bay freezes up, and Metro must pay for ice-breakers to come in to keep a path clear. I have travelled to the island when the ferry doesn't run -- I was the adult carrier for the Toronto Star for a couple of months in the wintertime, when nobody on the island wanted to deliver it -- and it wasn't easy, but I choose not to live there for that and other reasons. Incidentally, I live on the city side. I don't think I pointed that out earlier.
The city of Toronto has been asked to provide further services for the island. City and Metro should not be required to provide any further services than are already available, and as budgets for the whole of the municipality allow. I believe what the bill is doing will create further expenses for the city of Toronto, the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto, the board of education and various other bodies.
If a co-op housing group is eventually formed, it should be made up of anyone who is interested, not just islanders. This bill gives effective control of public land to a small group of individuals who, I might point out, are highly opinionated in various directions, as has been shown in some of the presentations. To quote an island resident yesterday, there are 250 groups for 250 residences on the island. One should note that the land trust will be controlled by a majority of islanders, so the reality is they are to become, whoever they are, a power to themselves. Removing them from the planning controls is also an error.
On developing more units, this will only make more demand on already overburdened municipal services. Regarding page 29 of the Johnston report, the city-Metro agreement, to the best of my knowledge, fell apart because the city politicians woke up to the sweetheart deal at higher value than proposed today and turned it down, not for "financing reasons." I would suggest that when Councillor O'Donohue appears this afternoon, he can enlighten you further on that. But I've had it confirmed that that's exactly what happened.
The $36,000, by the way, would be lucky to find you a parking spot in any of the condos on the city side of the ferry, never mind any residence.
I am sure other residents of Ontario are not against letting some of the senior citizens who moved to the island in 1975 or before have the right to live out their lives there at a fair rent. However, I don't think the same citizens agree that the sweetheart deal that Minister Cooke proposes should go to the new arrivals that include the lawyers, the doctors, the teachers and the civil servants. On page 24, Mr Johnston states that many islanders are too poor to afford the $34,000 lease. I'm sure that is not totally the case, as TIRA agreed with the city in the Perlin-West agreement and it asked for an even higher sum.
I live in a Cityhome unit, non-profit housing that assists those who are needy, not greedy. It is subject to a number of controls. I suggest that Cityhome be asked to assume ownership and development and to provide assistance to those in need, instead of the co-op plan, which is open to abuse on the part of some of the participants, as has been illustrated in various co-op situations. That's the end of my submission, sir.
Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): Mr Rosart, in view of your presentation, what do you see as the solution to the Toronto Islands situation and the future use thereof?
Mr Rosart: Let the Cityhome people take it over as subsidized housing for the people who need it and develop it accordingly, including the new development.
Mr Stockwell: What about the argument that Metropolitan Toronto has put forth for the past three decades? They have a policy that says you can't develop parkland, period, case closed, end of discussion. Have you given any thought to the fact that, with this historic agreement, that policy is no longer? Do you have any concern about the fact that there will be approved legal development on public open space, ie, parkland, in Metropolitan Toronto?
Mr Rosart: It seems like the city of Toronto, the province and Metro all seem to want a community to exist there. If that's the case and that's the will of the ministry, fine. That's the government that's controlling us today. However, development, I think, is a mistake on top of what's already there, but if they're going to do it, do it right. There is also a question that's coming up in Metro now that, for example, when a school's being sold to the board of education, they're talking about selling parkland at less than value, which is a whole issue to itself.
Mr Stockwell: The last quickly, just to make comment. I've held a rather consistent view with respect to the public open space policy. I have the same attitude towards the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in west end Toronto. There's been much pressure in the past by developers to build convention centres and so on and so forth on those properties as well, which we deem to be public open space, other than the existing buildings. I've resisted those overtures because I think it's a very basic and natural acceptance that any of our Metropolitan Toronto citizens should be allowed to use any public open space like anyone else, and that's the beauty of the park system in Metropolitan Toronto.
I guess the question I put to you is, have you given up on the fact that this cannot ever be public open space? What if the same issue were put to us with respect to the Canadian National Exhibition and the development pressure there to develop those east end properties and in fact demolish what is there now and develop those? Do you not see this, to some degree, as the thin edge of the wedge?
Mr Rosart: I tend to agree with you there, Mr Stockwell, on that.
Ms Swarbrick: Mr Rosart, thank you for presenting your views to us. Obviously, they are at divergence with the bill, and so I'd just like to offer you a few comments from my perspective as to why I am comfortable with the bill.
First of all, in terms of your comments about changing the community to be run by Cityhome and for the purpose of people who need the affordable housing, our perspective is very much one of wanting to be able to protect a community that does now exist. I know you expressed some concern with regard to some of the people, and I think it's a minority of the people there who in fact do have some better incomes perhaps. One house you made mention of --
Mr Rosart: Excuse me, Ms Swarbrick.
Ms Swarbrick: If I may finish and if you could just make any notes if you want to respond to after, I'd appreciate it. The one house had the value of roughly $130,000. We definitely would not deny that this is a mixed-income community, although more of its people are in the lower income ranges, but it is a mixed-income community. Personally, that's something I very much like to support in every community, because I think it's a real problem to create ghettoized communities. I think we want mixed-income communities everywhere.
I think it's important to note that the people there who have more money will in fact not gain through the speculative operation of the normal real estate market. If they buy their property there, they are subject to very tight controls, as recommended by Mr Johnston, in terms of not being able to gain great equity. In fact it would be greatly more attractive to those people to want to move to other parts of Metro if they really were interested in simply speculative gain on their real estate.
With regard to the school, I point out that the school on the island is not just for the purpose of the islanders. It does serve as a natural science school for the entire city, and so we all do benefit from it. I know that it's at a time where it needs to be rebuilt. It's not the only school, though, in Metro that's being rebuilt. In my own riding of Scarborough West, Blantyre Public School is being rebuilt because it also is at the point where it does need to be rebuilt. So the island is not absorbing all of the city's capital dollars or Metro's capital dollars.
The Chair: Ms Swarbrick, one minute. Mr Marchese also is looking for an opportunity to ask a question.
Ms Swarbrick: If I can finish then, I'll jump to one last point. You referred to the reference in Mr Johnston's report to the Perlin-West report having established a higher value for the capitalized leases. As Mr Johnston pointed out yesterday, the Atlin arbitration -- convened, I guess, by the city of Toronto -- did pay the values of the capitalized leases at $46,950 for Ward's Island and $62,586 for Algonquin Island, but made it very clear that within that pegged arbitrated value for the capitalized leases, it did include about 23% for the value of the houses. In fact Mr Johnston very much used that arbitrated appraisal of those capitalized leases and basically removed the housing value out of them, since it was recognized by all parties that the islanders owned their own homes. I'm just trying to explain at least some of our perspectives to you.
The Chair: Perhaps we can have a response.
Mr Rosart: The $140,000 house is one example, but as the market has looked better for people to reoccupy their houses, the prices have gone up, as would the market on the mainland. I made it quite clear that there are $7 million, but $1.4 million is separate for the island science school, which could stand alone there. If I could just ask a question of Mrs Swarbrick, would you build a $5.6-million school for the benefit of 70 children in your riding?
Ms Swarbrick: To be honest, I'd have to check into what the value of the school is per pupil within my riding. I could check into that if you want. I would assume that we're not building an really wealthy school and that in fact is probably a normal cost of the building of a school for that size.
Mr Rosart: There will be 170 children.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms Swarbrick, and thank you, Mr Rosart.
Mr Marchese: One minute to squeeze it in?
The Chair: Unanimous consent?
Mr Stockwell: Darn right there is.
Mr Marchese: Mr Rosart, one question. I had many, actually. One was, "Why do you hate the islanders so much?" but I'm not going to ask you that.
Mr Rosart: I don't hate the islanders. I met my wife on the island. I like the place.
Mr Marchese: One of the questions is that 95% of the islands is for parkland. The islanders occupy 5% of the island in terms of space. We know that since the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s, there has been a reduction of use on the island. So what we have is 5% occupied by the present islanders. The existing 100 units or so will not take much more space. There is less use on it. What would you object to in that? By the way, the others have lived there for a long, long time, and I accept the figure that 65% of the residents have lived on the island for 15 years or more and 22% have lived there for more than 35 years. Given that assumption of mine, given that they take up so little space and given the reduction of use, what's the problem?
Mr Rosart: Those figures I gave are from the city directory. If you want to doubt the city directory -- I'm only going by a factual source. The information I gave is from census etc. I'm not just coming out of thin air with them. But getting back to your issue about the 5% and the population going down --
Mr Marchese: It's use.
Mr Rosart: -- it's well apparent that people have less leisure time because they're having a harder time to pay for their housing on the city side, so they can't go wandering over the islands. As well, the number of attractions on the island has gone down. There used to be a viable community with hotels. As a matter of fact, that might not be a bad idea, to put one over there. But that's back in the old days. It was a thriving community, and it was a tourist community as well. It was a destination. It was a postal address.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Rosart. Mr Mills, did you have something? Briefly.
Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Very briefly, Mr Chairman. The figure of 70 children is erroneous. It's not that at all, and 60% of the people with children who attend the school are from the mainland.
The Chair: What is the number, Mr Mills?
Mr Mills: Well, it's at least 170.
Mr Rosart: No, Mr Mills. There are 170 children attending the island school, of which 60% are from the mainland, leaving only 70 children on the island.
Mr Stockwell: That's what he said.
Mr Mills: Okay, yes.
Mr Rosart: There are 300 children on the waterfront going to 35 different schools. The school should be on the city side, if common sense -- but unfortunately, when it comes to the islands, politicians and common sense don't go together.
Mr Mills: But the board of education makes the decision where they're going to build a school.
Mr Rosart: The decision is not final, I might point out.
The Chair: Thank you.
The Chair: The next presentation is from Bruce Weber.
Mr Bruce Weber: Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Bruce Weber. I'm a nurse in a Toronto hospital. I'm a professional. I make $50,000 a year. My house happens to be shared with a Filipino immigrant who makes less than $10,000 a year and a 65-year-old shop owner who probably makes less than $20,000 a year. That's not the reason I'm here. I was previously an urban planning consultant and an economist with the Indian Affairs branch of the federal government.
The Toronto Island community has faced many unique problems in the past and it's been a particularly resourceful community, but especially when partnered with responsive governments, it has come up with really excellent solutions to problems. Luck seems not to have been so good when governments seemed unable to listen to the experience of the local community.
There are a good many examples of situations that just didn't fit:
-- The Ongiara, the vehicular ferry that never fit into the Ward's Island ferry dock: Vehicles ever since have had to use the Hanlan's Point dock.
-- The 1972 proposal for a concrete and steel circus tent kind of ferry shelter, which fit neither the community there nor the quiet atmosphere of the park at that time. Cancellation of that project saved the taxpayers several hundred thousands of dollars.
-- We've never been quite convinced that the conventional sewer trunk that stretches 10 kilometres across the island and across the Western Gap was the proper solution for handling sewage on the island.
-- The 1981 legislation we'd rather not talk about. The arbitrator called it the "dog's breakfast." It didn't quite fit.
-- The proposed new firehall: Although the firehall is desperately needed, it frightens us if it's really to house bigger trucks, as we've been told. The 1989 fire at the Algonquin Island Association clubhouse proved to us that the one big truck over there, which was driven 100 yards from the firehall to the bridge, couldn't go over the bridge. It didn't fit over the bridge and we're very frightened of the prospect of new fire trucks, bigger fire trucks, fitting into a fire station, that don't fit over the bridge, don't fit the bridge to the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, and don't fit access to Ward's Island. But we desperately need new additional fire services with small units that fit.
On the other hand, we've really enjoyed some very valuable partnerships with governments. One such special partnership was in the care of Barbara Hamilton. She was an islander who battled eight years with severe progressive multiple sclerosis, and although Barb was bedridden at age 33, a special friend, along with about 30 islanders, determined that she would not be put in an institution.
Five years later into her disease and with her meagre finances exhausted, we approached a marvellously supportive bureaucratic Ministry of Community and Social Services, which realized the impossibility of piecing together fragmented programs for home care for the island situation. We eventually won an order in council for attendant care for Barb at home and she survived another three years. We hope that the Ontario government is as proud as we are of the quality of life that we were able to give to Barb in her beloved community and at a fraction of the cost that it would have required to have her in an institution.
The island community continues to face a lot of difficult situations.
We've got a very large aged population; 17% of all households are occupied by persons over 65. Many of them are over 80, living alone, stubbornly independent but vulnerable.
We've got a number of seriously handicapped persons among our 650 population, three with Parkinson's disease, possibly two with multiple sclerosis, two with schizophrenia, two known rheumatoid arthritic persons, others with Alzheimer's, several stroke victims and one infant with cystic fibrosis. We know them and we care for them.
We face delayed emergency services, especially when the bay is iced over, although on only one occasion in 20 years has it been necessary for a helicopter to evacuate a person, and that happened to be Barb. We have no stores, no commercial services, no nursing homes, no Meals on Wheels and often a reluctance of home care agencies to understand that we're only seven minutes across the bay.
Faced with these difficulties, the community is determined to continue in its resourceful caring. But again, we may have to call upon governments to partner with us to create unique programs to allow this caring to continue.
First of all, let's ensure that our seniors are not economically evicted. Facing a $36,000 or $46,000 mortgage when one is already retired is not an easy prospect. New housing alternatives have to be possible. Two 85-year-old Filipinos lived with me all last winter. I can tell you, a half-mile trek to the dock from Algonquin Island is very forbidding for seniors.
Care in the home has to be supplemented, and we really congratulate the Ontario government for its initiatives proposed in Redirection of Long-Term Care and Support Services in Ontario. Prior to publication of that paper by the Ontario government, the Toronto Islands community had already drafted what we called our Toronto Island Health Response Network.
This isn't an organization, but it's a bit of a formalization of what the community has always done in supporting its vulnerable members. Some of the aims that we came through with were a directory of the doctor and nurses -- the one doctor. We did have another doctor last year who left. By the way, we also had three lawyers on the island. One is retired, a great-great-great grandson of the original settler on Ward's Island in 1830. The other one operates as a carpenter.
Anyhow, we're looking for a directory of the doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, the persons trained in CPR and first aid on the island. This support network has already helped 70-year-old Yvonne to come home from Riverdale Hospital after she fractured her hip and her wrist. That she did falling off her bicycle. The medical authorities were very pleased to have her come home when they realized the support she had in the community.
We're looking for one or two paid health workers in the community some day, who could monitor the seniors in their homes, who could assist with their baths and personal care, provide respite for care-giving spouses, respond in crises and provide meals and housekeeping services. These are happening right now, but we're going to need much more in the future.
We need more courses in first aid and CPR and we were really happy to graduate another 15 islanders in CPR last year. When we're facing delayed emergency services on the island, we need these people. We need to be ready.
We need speakers and workshops in Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, geriatric concerns, the things that we have to face every day, in order to enhance the community's knowledge and ability to support our handicapped members. We're looking in the future to a lot of other things. We hope to have a couple of units designed into the housing where we can actually house people who really need nursing care, one or two units. We've lost four or five people from cancer in the last three years. We would have been pleased to have let them have nursing care on the island.
In summary, I just ask you to listen carefully to our concerns so that the trust can continue in a unique, cost-effective and quality partnership with government in the care of our community.
Mr Stockwell: Thank you very much for that presentation. It was informative and well-researched. It says a couple of things to me.
Firstly, there are some unique issues and problems on the island that I have heard and known about for the last decade, at least, since I've been dealing with this issue. I will say, though, that I hear a lot of these issues every day from a lot of communities in Metropolitan Toronto. Yes, some are very unique; some aren't unique at all.
I just would say that you must bear in mind when you ask for government assistance for any of these particulars that there are some advantages, certainly, that you have living on the island, and there are some downsides as well.
I think every morning when I get up and take my son, who's of junior kindergarten age, to the bus stop and bus him two districts over to school -- and he gets on the bus every day at noon and comes home. I, myself, and my community don't understand why the school down the street isn't open, which would mean he could walk to school. But it's not open and that's a problem our community faces. It's very similar to problems that you face as an island community as well.
I just want you to be left with the message that yes, these are concerns, but you're not the only people in Metropolitan Toronto who have problems that are unique and different that we don't face every day. I just wanted to be clear that I understand there are problems on the island with respect to a lot of these issues, and my position that I take with respect to this piece of legislation doesn't belittle the fact that there are problems you face that I've seen for the last decade.
Some of the problems, I'm convinced, have been exacerbated by the attitude that Metropolitan Toronto has taken on the island issue. I will say that I sat on the parks and property committee at Metropolitan Toronto for a number of years and I dealt with island issues when it came to building permits, and when they came in for their building permits, I voted in favour of giving them their building permits. So it's not a question that just because you're opposed to this deal means you're categorically opposed to unique communities, but sir, there are hundreds of unique communities in Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr Weber: We just feel that our community resources have been mobilized well in partnership with government and that they've been very cost-effective. They have saved the government money.
Mr Marchese: Just some general remarks with respect to the school. The school has been there on the island for quite some time, as one historical remark. The other remark is that 60% of the people come from the mainland to the island school. Essentially, I'm addressing this to Chris --
The Chair: Why don't you address them to me?
Mr Marchese: To the Chair, and I was addressing it generally to Chris because he was making the previous statement. Some 60% of the people come from the outside, mostly Harbourfront, where there are no schools. All the other schools in the area are full; they can't take any more. That is why you have additional students coming from the mainland to the island school. Most of them come from Harbourfront. There are no schools in the area to walk to, as a general remark.
But the other remark, to follow up, and perhaps you and others can speak to it, is that I was addressing this to a previous speaker and I was saying that the use of the island has gone down demonstrably from the 1950s on. I think the hotel was destroyed a long time ago as a feature why it might have attracted people. The islanders attract people to the island, it seems to me. Without that community, I suspect its use is less now than it was 30 years ago, and if the islanders were not there, I suspect there would be very little.
My argument to the previous speaker and to the others is that the islanders offer unique services to mainlanders in addition to my saying that they have a right to be there for a variety of reasons. Does the existence of the island, in addition to the homes, not create a viable community for the school, for the mainland and for a variety of different reasons?
Mr Weber: It's a very viable one. I was just going through our old Goose and Duck newspapers to try to find the picture of the dock that was planned in 1972, and that was the same edition in which figures were reprinted for the use by passengers going to the islands. In 1927, there were 1.1 million persons going to the island; in 1970, there were 1.4 million, which wasn't a significant change in that many years.
There are all kinds of stories of the island as a place where people using the park found some security, whether they were the stories of lifesaving on the ice or of David, last year, who pulled the two girls out off the eastern gap.
I think it would be a lonely, barren wilderness without persons living there for the 10 months beyond the 39 hours in the midsummer when the ferries are used to capacity carrying crowds. It's something like 39 hours a year that the ferries are used to capacity, and those people don't crowd the islands. They go to Centre Island.
The rest of the 8 to 10 months of the year there are not a great many visitors to the island, in spite of the things we have tried to do in terms of winder carnivals, laying out paths for cross-country skiers and trying to promote the park as a full, year-round, beautiful place. Metro's response in the park usually has been a simple sign, "Ice unsafe." That's been their response to winter use on the island, nothing more than that.
Mr Grandmaître: I'll be very short.
The Chair: We appreciate that.
Mr Grandmaître: Thank you; very short, yes. Mr Weber, what you're telling us is a great story. I think what you're telling us is that the island community used to be a great, livable and lovable place to be.
Mr Marchese: Still is.
Mr Grandmaître: But Bill 61, the way it's been introduced, will not really put back this real life of 30 years ago if we don't respond to all the needs you've pointed out in your brief. Is this what you're telling us, that Bill 61 might be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if we don't come up with all these services, then the Toronto Island will not be a real, livable community?
Mr Weber: No, I said we were very enthusiastic about this bill and about the idea of the trust. We think it complements very well what this community has always done and we hope, first of all, that you will continue to hear us so that you don't bust up the package.
Secondly, we hope that in the future we'll continue to have the cooperation; for instance, possibly helping to finance a health worker in the community, as is suggested and recommended in Redirection of Long-Term Care. We think it's an excellent bill that fits with what the community has been.
Mr Grandmaître: But you will need all those services to make it a real, viable community?
Mr Weber: All those services that I've outlined here consist of one or two paid health care workers.
Mr Mills: He said one small question.
The Chair: He still hasn't had as much time as the other two parties.
Thank you, Mr Weber, for coming today. We appreciate the presentation. I would remind members that we need to be back here at 1 o'clock. I'll see you then, promptly.
The committee recessed at 1208.
The committee resumed at 1307.
The Chair: The standing committee will come to order. As we all know, we're considering Bill 61. The first presentation this afternoon will be made by Bob McCartney. Good afternoon, Mr McCartney. The committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You may identify yourself for the purposes of Hansard, and any organization you may be with.
Mr Bob McCartney: I'm just a private citizen. I'm not going to take up much time. I'd just like to see the homes on the island become environmentally friendly. I guess you've heard all this stuff before. I've got a book here from Denmark, and they've got co-ops there that use passive solar and ground pumps etc. That's all I've got to say.
The Chair: That leaves us some opportunity for questions.
Ms Swarbrick: I'm just curious. Do you live on the islands?
Mr McCartney: No.
Ms Swarbrick: Are you considering that they aren't now environmentally friendly to the standards you'd like to see? If so, what are you specifically proposing?
Mr McCartney: What I'd like to see is that the new co-op they're going to build over there be built with passive solar or maybe wind energy. I'm not an expert on the situation, but I think you've got a unique opportunity over there to do something for the environment. I'm a carpenter by trade, and I think there are a lot of contractors and builders in this city who would like to have a place they could go to see what is being done in terms of environmentally friendly housing. They could make it a unique showplace in Toronto. I know it's one of their major exports from Denmark. It could maybe give Ontario a lot of jobs. That's all I have.
Ms Swarbrick: That's a very interesting idea. Is that a spare copy you've got that you could share?
Mr McCartney: Yes, you can have it. You can make photocopies. I tried to get more, but they haven't got any more copies.
The Chair: Mr Grandmaître, questions? No? Mr Stockwell?
Mr Stockwell: No, I think he's clear as glass, succinct, like my friend Rosario.
The Chair: Mr Marchese's been looking for time to ask questions.
Mr Marchese: Anne had a question; that's fine.
The Chair: Then thank you. We appreciate you coming.
Mr McCartney: Thank you.
The Chair: Is Professor Brent Rutherford here? Good afternoon, sir. The committee has allocated you 15 minutes for your presentation, but I believe you have 20 minutes. We may use that time to some advantage. You may introduce yourself and begin your presentation.
Dr Brent Rutherford: Thank you. My name is Brent Rutherford. My comments today are drawn from a number of perspectives. First, I've been a member of the Toronto Islands community for 12 years. My wife is a lifelong islander, as are our two children. My wife's father, now 77, has owned his island home since the 1950s. Second, I've been involved in one way or another with policy discussions involving the island situation dating from the Swadron inquiry. Third, I've been a faculty member at the faculty of environmental studies at York University for the past 21 years, and I work and teach in the field of program and policy evaluation. I'm a charter member of the Canadian Evaluation Society and have served on its board of directors.
People who work in the area of program evaluation seek to identify problems in program design prior to implementation as well as to determine program successes or failures after implementation, and despite the skill of program designers and the enthusiasm of legislators, programs regularly fail to meet their objectives.
The only reason we're here today is to correct a long history of political errors. Bill 191 proved to be seriously flawed. Mr Atlin, the arbitrator under the bill, termed it a dog's breakfast. Is the fate of Bill 61 any different?
If the majority of prior submissions have become predictable in their praise for Bill 61, my comments may provide some relief. Time permits me to address only four matters. The first one is procedural, and the other three have to do with matters in the legislation and regulations. The first two matters are my views alone, while the latter two are supported by unanimous community resolution.
As I was working on this in the wee hours of this morning, I failed to find a proper term to identify the four elements I wish to talk about. In the text, I've used an inflammatory phrase, "bait and switch." I wish to revise that and call it sleight of hand.
During the debate on second reading of this bill, the member for Fort York, accurately, I think, made excellent review of the comments made by the leaders of the opposition parties in times past. What he did not, however, refer to was the letter Mr Rae had sent to the island community on September 4, 1990. Mr Rae told the island community:
"My view and that of my party coincide and are unchanged. We believe that island residents deserve the same rights and security enjoyed by every other community in the province. We support fully the settlement negotiated by your association with the city of Toronto."
The context of Mr Rae's commitment was the settlement recommended to city council by Mr Perlin, the city solicitor, and Ms West, as property commissioner, that would return island home ownership for an average price of $53,000, a 99-year lease would be granted and, after a short period of price controls, the land lease could be disposed of free of any constraints.
Because the Perlin-West proposal was unanimously supported by NDP members of city council, it was reasonable to have confidence in Mr Rae's commitment. As well, islanders remembered and appreciated the proposal from NDP member Dale Martin that would return home ownership and offer a 99-year lease, free of any controls, for two payments, $25,000 initially and $15,000 whenever the lease would be sold, a form of equity partnership, if you like. I might add, given Mr Perlin's comments, that both settlements would have totally satisfied the city's debt. Indeed, Mr Martin's proposal -- I cannot tell you the exact year of that -- would have given the city a $15,000 profit.
Considering the fact that the Liberal government was not able to do much to advance a reasonable settlement during its time in office, it is no wonder that island polls voted strongly for the NDP candidate from Fort York.
At the end of the day, however, what Mr Johnston proposed, which has become Bill 61, is radically different from the settlement endorsed by Mr Rae. It is a social experiment, a demonstration project for the application of the US land trust model. Unless one now leaves the island, participation in the experiment is mandatory, not voluntary. And home ownership is returned in name only: The constraints, restrictions and formulae are the antithesis of any true meaning of ownership.
The message here is basically to the opposition members. During the debate at second reading, some members claimed the bill was a benefit to NDP voters. Instead, they might focus on the NDP promise made and forgotten, and they might well commiserate with those islanders who are uncomfortable about being forced to choose between leaving their homes and community today and being required to participate in a social experiment.
Sleight of hand 2: The stewardship of the park lands.
Islanders are deeply aware that they live in a special place and fully support and accept the concept of stewardship, the sense of cautious, careful regard for the unique qualities of our island, the public's island, and our larger environment. Many of my neighbours have a long and respected commitment and professional engagement in environmental protection.
But Mr Johnston's recommendations and Bill 61 force us to become instant developers. To satisfy the government, it was necessary to force-fit at least 80 housing units into the existing community. This forced us to agree to place housing either where no houses had ever before existed -- on meadow space -- or where areas had naturally recovered for decades. We have been forced into a logical contradiction, into a necessarily hypocritical position: "If you want the bill, find housing sites and develop them. You are stewards, but you must also be developers." It is certainly difficult to insist on both at the same time.
That's the recent history. Looking forward, the bill exempts the land trust from both the Planning Act and the Environmental Assessment Act. While the bill may cap the number of residential units at 110, as I read the bill, any and all other forms of development are permissible. In short, 50% of the land trust board plus one permits the land trust to bring any form of development to the island. As I understand the bill, there are no constraints to building office towers, amusement parks or warehouses. Island green thumbs may want to build a number of commercial greenhouses. For me, being interested in probability, I might propose to the province a joint venture to locate a casino on land trust lands.
It may be that the city's politicians and planners are not sympathetic to island needs and wishes and it may be that a proper environmental assessment is too expensive, too long and too lengthy. But surely some form of review is urgently required to review possible dubious initiatives of the land trust board on land that belongs ultimately to the province and the people of Ontario, not simply a majority of the land trust board of the day.
I now turn to two matters that are not my personal views, but state the community position. These relate to the value received on selling the unused portion of the land lease and the equity, what's been called the equity, or the longevity factor. We're seriously concerned that, as presently contained in the draft regulations, neither is neutral to the effects of inflation.
Sleight of hand 3: The sale of the unused lease value.
Because the sale of the lease is an administered or formula price rather than a market price, it is important that the value returned is inflation-neutral. We must concern ourselves with how the lease depreciates in value. It was always explained to the community that the lease would reduce in value by one ninety-ninth per year, a little over 1%, and would be fully inflation adjusted. This understanding was an important part of the community's acceptance of Mr Johnston's proposal.
Instead, when the draft regulations were produced -- I should also comment that in a highly concentrated form the formulas exist in the appendix of Mr Johnston's report -- the arithmetic was far more complicated and inflation protection was not included. Here's an example. If an islander were to move after 10 years, because of sickness or transfer or simply because he wanted to move, had paid a lease price of $36,000 and inflation had been zero in each of these 10 years, the islander would receive about 94% of the lease sale price. But if inflation had been 10%, he would only receive about 61% of the lease sale price; that is, what the new person pays. This amounts to an $11,900 difference in 1993 constant dollars.
Clearly, the formula and the draft regulations are not inflation-neutral. Any inflation level above 0% reduces the value a departing islander would receive.
Sleight of hand 4: The longevity or the equity factor.
In presenting his recommendation to the community, Mr Johnston advanced the idea of a small factor that would be applied to the house value that would recognize and encourage community longevity. He called this the "longevity factor"; in the draft regulations this is termed the "equity factor." This small amount would be compounded at 1.5% per year and would apply to the house value on the time of sale. After 10 years, as islanders understood it, this would amount to a modest 16.1%, 1.5% times 10 years plus a little bit of compounding, which would be a bonus attached to the depreciated replacement value of the house, the actual sticks and boards and labour and the depreciated value of that. The community's acceptance of the Johnston proposal was partly based on this understanding.
Instead, when the draft regulations were produced -- and in a very modest way in the appendix of Mr Johnston's report one can find some new information on this -- a much more complicated approach was taken. While the arithmetic is complicated, the results are clear. The value of the equity factor varies wildly and widely with inflation. Its value is greater at low inflation and much less when inflation is high.
For example, if an islander had to move in 10 years and inflation had been 0% for each of those years, the equity factor would amount to 17.2% of the house value but would be only 11.4% if inflation had been 10% for each of those years. This amounts to a $4,400 difference in 1993 constant dollars. The amount of the equity factor when inflation is 0% is 51% greater than in a 10% inflation environment. The formula proposed in the draft regulation is not inflation-neutral.
In conclusion, regarding the four matters discussed:
(1) We cannot undo Mr Rae's promise and what was delivered, but the support given the NDP candidate, given the context of the day, can be better understood.
(2) To assure the public that the land trust board members are truly stewards dedicated to the preservation and protection of the land and the natural areas, and not dedicated developers using the land as a resource, a review mechanism of some sort must be established. At a minimum, the Minister of the Environment or the Minister of Municipal Affairs must have the power to review and stop overaggressive land development.
(3) and (4) The resale formulas for land lease and equity factor are extremely sensitive to different levels of possible future inflation. Islanders should not become passive inflation speculators, gaining from low inflation and suffering from high inflation. If they must move, the administered price should be stable in all inflation conditions. Minor adjustments in the formula would achieve inflation neutrality and, as a matter of fact, have been previously provided to technical staff at the ministry.
I urge that the committee seriously consider the suggestions in this submission and the community's submissions to the ministry staff. While clearly I am personally not enthusiastic about the bill, in the absence of any other reasonable proposal on the table I would urge all members of the committee to support the bill.
I've attached to my submission a copy of Mr Rae's letter and recent correspondence between myself and the staff in the ministry. That correspondence refers to a December 7 report. I'm not sure if it's appropriate, given the procedures of the committee, but I'd be happy to leave a copy of that with the Chair if the committee would like to dig into the details of the resale formula.
Mr Grandmaître: Professor, does that mean that you'll be encouraging your islander friends to oppose or object to Bill 61, or whatever?
Dr Rutherford: No. I've encouraged you to accept this as the best proposal before the Legislature and the only one on the table, as far as I know.
Mr Grandmaître: But what you're trying to tell us in your submission is that it's far from being perfect, that it could be improved, that it should be improved and that you're very concerned about the future of the development on the islands. This is why this committee, or this side of the committee anyway, is very concerned about future developments. Also, the islands will be exempt from the Planning Act.
Dr Rutherford: I'm quite aware of that, sir.
Mr Grandmaître: You're quite aware of this? Don't you think the government has a private agenda or a secret agenda for the future of the islands?
Dr Rutherford: I hope not, and I'm not aware of any secret agenda but in general principles --
Mr Grandmaître: Why would you think the minister would want to exempt the islands from the Planning Act? Why?
Dr Rutherford: Frankly, sir, I guess it'd be best to ask the minister. I frankly don't know.
Mr Grandmaître: Maybe I can ask the parliamentary assistant.
The Chair: Maybe you can at a later moment.
Mr Grandmaître: At a later moment? Well, no, I've asked a question and the professor doesn't have an answer. Can I --
The Chair: No; later. Mr Stockwell.
Mr Stockwell: I'm afraid you're out of time, Ben. I tried to lobby for you.
Let me just go through these very quickly, step by step. One, if you're here to tell us in your bait and switch or sleight of hand that Bob Rae broke campaign promises, this isn't a revelation. You can just go down the hall and visit the insurance committee hearings and they'll be saying the same thing. Bob Rae broke a whole pile of campaign promises. I'm not going to lose sleep over that one tonight.
Second, I find it incredibly ironic as well that the government that is for the people, that talked about the island and the public open space, having policy with no development and park and all this interesting stuff -- I sat with members of the government and had them just brief me ad nauseum on the Planning Act and zoning and all the tremendous things they put in place; John Sewell, Jack Layton, Dale Martin et al -- that it's kind of funny they exempt it all on the island. I agree with you there.
Third, on items 3 and 4, about the equity factor, longevity, sir, I think you're looking a gift horse in the mouth. I'd endorse it as well.
Mr Marchese: Chris was really brief on those statements.
Mr Rutherford, I found the presentation very useful. You raise interesting questions, particularly as they relate to your conclusion number 2: "To assure the public that the land trust board are truly stewards...and not dedicated developers using the land as a resource, a review mechanism must be established," and "the Minister of the Environment or Municipal Affairs must have the power to halt aggressive land development."
My assumption is that if that is the case, the trust is responsible to the ministry, and because of that direct relationship, I'm assuming that the minister would be able to halt anything that you're assuming could happen.
I don't see anything in the legislation that allows for what you're suggesting, such as the building of office towers, amusement parks or warehouses and I wonder, Mr Chair, if staff --
The Chair: You may ask questions of staff later.
Mr Marchese: I see. We don't want to do that now. I don't see that in the --
Dr Rutherford: I'd be delighted if I'm wrong.
Mr Marchese: Okay. My assumption, again, is that the Minister of Municipal Affairs would have jurisdiction, clearly, over that and would be able to halt it.
Mr Grandmaître: Then you put it in the legislation.
The Chair: Mr Grandmaître, you're out of order.
Dr Rutherford: Can I respond to that briefly?
The Chair: That's the idea.
Dr Rutherford: I presume the members of the board serve at the will of the minister. They don't serve a term of office, as far as I understand it, and if the minister thought the land trust board was overstepping good taste, he or she might remove them. I think that's an awkward way of going about it. I'd rather have the parameters of development either known or specified or at least the review conditions made explicit by some means or manner.
Mr Marchese: I suppose we could look at that. I'll leave my second question to Ms Swarbrick.
Ms Swarbrick: First, with regard to the issue of the rationale for the new co-op, for the added units on the island, it seems to me that that's similar to the thinking behind the proposal by Metro and the province to look at intensification in other areas of Metro too, the fact that you need to have a certain density of population to support services and the expansion of services, and that that's part of the thinking that makes sense there as well, and certainly has historical merit, given the number of homes that used to occupy the island and were torn down by people who weren't friends of having a community on the island.
In terms of the financial concerns that you raise about the value of the homes, I'd like to point out that your financial concerns in fact are answered within the regulations, although not in the act, and that I think they are well taken care of, because not only is there the equity factor that you refer to, but the resale value of the homes would also be based on the appraised value of the homes at time of sale, and that would very much take into consideration any inflationary increases.
Mr Rutherford: It's true that if a person constantly maintains his structure with infusions of capital, the structure presumably would hold its value over time, so you could say that it's inflation-neutral. But it's not the case that the equity factor and the resale on the land lease are inflation-neutral. If you simply capture the formulas that are in the draft regulations and test them on different inflation levels, you get very different answers. I've given you an example at 10 years and 0% inflation and 10% inflation. As I said, I'd be happy to leave the longer report with the Chair if the committee would like to have a serious look at it.
The Chair: We would appreciate that, and thank you for coming today.
I recognize that Mr Grandmaître has a question of the ministry, or he did have.
Mr Grandmaître: Yes. Mr Parliamentary Assistant, why would the minister exempt the Toronto Islands' future development from the Planning Act?
Mr Mills: I think the minister believes the Planning Act is able to deal with this as it is now; you know, with the existing Metro plan.
Mr Grandmaître: The existing Metro --
Mr Mills: You know, where the islands are part of the --
Mr Grandmaître: Yes.
Mr Mills: Yes. The ministry feels that is sufficient.
Mr Grandmaître: But if the islands are part of the official plan, the city of Toronto is not exempt from the Planning Act. How can you exempt a section of the Planning Act from the Planning Act? Why would you do that?
Mr Mills: I'll get back to you about this specifically, rather than give you what I think, and then we'll be right.
Mr Stockwell: Would you answer me one question while you're getting back to him on that? This flows. I'm working under the assumption that if this parcel of land is not part of the Planning Act, it is then not part of environmental assessment. So it would make sense to me that by excluding it from the Planning Act you thereby are excluding it from environmental assessment hearings, thereby allowing development on floodplain. Just check it out. I thought I had. It kept me awake.
Mr Mills: It kept you awake?
The Chair: I think Mr Marchese had a question. Do you remember what it was, Ms Swarbrick?
Ms Swarbrick: No, I don't.
The Chair: I don't either. We'll catch up with that one in a while.
The Chair: The next presentation will be made by Councillor Tony O'Donohue, ward 3, city of Toronto. Good afternoon. Welcome to the committee. We have approximately half an hour for your presentation, which is longer than you suspected, I guess.
Mr Tony O'Donohue: That's fine. I wanted to start off simply by saying that when I came into politics in 1967, this was one of the issues that was before Metro council, and that's going back a long time, 25 years.
At that time the Toronto Islands were totally under the jurisdiction of the Metropolitan corporation. The islands were given to the Metropolitan corporation by the city of Toronto on January 30, 1956. The motion of city council at that particular time comes from report 3 of the board of control, under the heading "Assumption of Toronto Island by the Metropolitan Corporation." There was an amendment to that. It was "subject to the condition that if at any time the Toronto island or any part thereof is used for other than park purposes, the island shall revert to the city of Toronto; and same is included as one of the terms of the arrangement for the execution of the agreement between the Metropolitan corporation and the city of Toronto." In other words, the agreement was that if Metro did not proceed to make the islands into a park, if it reneged on the deal, the islands would have to come back to the city.
That went through council at that time on a vote of 20 to 2. The vote on city council at that time was the mayor, controllers Allen and Saunders, aldermen Cranham, Chambers, Menzies, Dennison, George Phillips, Parry, Robinson, Howard Phillips, Summerville, Orliffe, Givens, Kucherepa, Newman, Davidson, Clifton, Roxborough and Waters. The two who opposed that were Controller Brand and Alderman Nash. So it was a 20-to-2 vote on January 30, 1956, on the understanding, as I said, that if Metro didn't make it into a full park, it would revert back to the city of Toronto.
I thought I would give you that by way of background. When I came on to the scene in 1967, centennial year, I was approached at that time by Alderman Rotenberg, who suggested to me that there was no point in giving the whole islands over, especially with respect to the parts of the islands that people lived on, unless we needed them, and we would only do it when we needed them. It was an incremental way of dealing with parks, expanding year by year when we needed to. I went along with that idea.
What actually happened, if I could go through the chronology of this again, is that the Toronto Islands were transferred from the city of Toronto to Metro for parkland. The island homes located on Centre Island and Hanlan's Point were demolished and the residents were awarded compensation averaging $11,000 per home. Leases on remaining homes on Ward's and Algonquin islands expired in August 1974. In 1974, of course, there was a new feeling, especially at the city political level, that it should renege on the old deal it had with Metro and try to establish or maintain a community on the islands. The problem at that time was that most of the original owners, who had left under the original conditions -- bought off by Metro -- had gone, and tenants had moved into the homes. The tenants decided, the majority of them anyway, that they were going to fight and try to establish a permanent community.
To me at that time it sounded like it was probably a twist in democracy that I didn't like. Here were people who were obeying the law and obeying the regulations that were brought down -- Metro needed the land and that's the law -- and although they didn't like it, they gave up their homes on the islands. The tenants moved in and said: "Hell no, we're not going to go. We're going to stay here. We want to stay here," and they began to fight.
What really happened is the original and legitimate owners of the island homes were screwed, if you want to use that type of word, or they were snared into a scenario where they were being totally democratic, and by a perverted system of democracy, they lost out. There were a lot of these people all over Toronto who'd obeyed the law and left, and the people who'd come in -- I call them the squatters -- who came in and took over control, really benefited from this.
The unfortunate thing at the time was that you had some fairly high-profile people living on the Toronto Islands. I think Peter Gzowski was one.
Mr Stockwell: And Cassidy.
Mr O'Donohue: Yes, and Cassidy, who was here in Queen's Park. I don't know about David Crombie. He had some involvement over there. But a lot of high-profile people had a lot of influence and were able to cajole governments, to try and make them have a look at what was going on over there and that there should be a community. While all that was going on, of course, this was building up; there were all kinds of arguments going back and forth, and it ended up with the shemozzle we are in right now.
Our city council was polarized on that. We even wanted to almost give them away in 1987, give the islands away to the tenants who were living over there. We had a big argument in council. I asked for appraisals of the Toronto Islands, and we went out and got three independent appraisals from independent organizations to tell us what the island homes were worth. I have it before me here. If anybody wants to have a look at it after, I can give it to them.
Our property department did three independent appraisals for the Toronto Islands on April 21, 1987. The three appraisals were carried out, and they were options A, B1 and C1. In the results of the three appraisals, Ward's Island is $79,000 and Algonquin Island $116,000; that's the average of the three appraisals. Mashke was one appraiser, LePage was another and Jones was the third. The appraisals varied from, as I said, $79,000 on Ward's -- that's the average -- to $116,666 on Algonquin. These are based on 1981 values, not on 1987 values.
Could you imagine how put out I was when we're going to give away the islands right now for 99 years at the steal price of $36,000 to $40,000? I think that is an absolute disgrace. I've been down this road so many times that I wonder what's happening to our system of government, what's happening to democracy, when something like this can happen. You have so many people who are living all across Toronto who would love to have this kind of piece of property on the doorstep to the city of Toronto, overlooking the skyline of Toronto, and be able to get it for a 99-year lease.
I do understand the political ramifications of it. I notice that Rosario Marchese is here; they're his constituents. I know they will all vote for anybody who says they're for them; that's the political reality of it. But I think there's a provincial reality more than anything else now when you're looking at this. There's also the reality of fairness. What is fair? Who gets this sweetheart deal? No matter how I look at it, I think there are many people out there who are questioning the sanity of the people who have made this deal.
With respect to the islands themselves, there's another problem, and that is the problem of whether or not you can build on the islands, based on the recent findings of the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority on the floodplain lands. In their storm intensity program, they have indicated a whole lot of land east of the O'Keefe Centre that you cannot build on any more. Toronto Islands fall directly under that because of the water table. There is a very difficult problem there with respect to putting sewers or water in the ground, because the water table is almost at ground level. That is way within the floodplain land, and I'm wondering what kind of concoction the provincial government is going to come up with to try to legalize this, once it has given away the lands, and this is what it's actually doing: giving away the lands.
You probably have our city's presentation which tells you what it has cost the city so far. It has cost the city so far approximately $16 million. We have actually paid the rent for the tenants over there. Our good mayor, June Rowlands, when she was budget chief into the 1980s, I distinctly remember her saying at the executive committee that, "These good folks on Toronto Islands, as we're not collecting the rent because our solicitor said we shouldn't collect it, are putting it into a special trust." That's probably the biggest joke I've heard in a long time, but that is exactly what June Rowlands said at the time, that there was a special trust set up by the tenants and the owners of Toronto Islands so that the moneys owed could be paid back to the city of Toronto when a deal was consummated. Of course, that never happened; that was a total fabrication, something that would never happen. But for that particular time, it eased the minds of a lot of people who wanted to see this happen.
What is happening right now is that we find ourselves in the hole in the vicinity of about $16 million in back rent we have paid to Metro that we have not collected. And what are we going to do? We're going to try to recoup this in this sweetheart deal that is presently before you. In other words, the people who are living there will really be living there for nothing, they'll get 99 years for nothing; all they've got to do is pay off the back debts. From a democratic point of view, it really gives me a sour taste in my mouth, as to how you can manipulate something into something like this, where you give special concessions to a group of people and you totally destroy another group of people. The original owners of the islands, the way they had been treated, and what has happened with respect to their view of democracy, has been totally destroyed. It's all been done in the name of: "We have to listen to the people who live in the Toronto Islands."
This is a classic example of people who can write their own law. If they disagree with it, all they've got to do is write their own law and go to the politicians and say, "Here, I voted for you; you might as well use your influence because I won't agree to anything else." What has happened here has been a total disaster as far as the city is concerned.
Going back to the 1950s, what actually happened here was that when Metro looked at it originally it felt the metropolitan population would really need some additional recreational space. At that time, the trend was to have a cottage, and it would be much easier for the immigrant population that came to Toronto to be able to take a bus or a streetcar down to the foot of Bay Street and go out to the islands. That was the whole idea. I bought it on that basis, that that's what the islands were going to be for.
But it became so difficult in the early 1970s, late 1970s and early 1980s to argue that point, because what you had over on the islands was a constant fight. The papers would write about it all the time. There were always problems over on the islands with respect to people getting over there and not having the proper services and things like that. That was sort of pushed into the background and they never really had an opportunity to develop the idea that the islands should become a place for people who do not have cottages.
Nevertheless, I think the islands are used and will probably continue to be used more intensely in the years ahead as more people live in the Metropolitan Toronto area and more people don't want to fight traffic to get to a cottage. A lot of people won't be able to afford a cottage, so the islands were idyllic for that.
When we look back at this 99 years from now, I think our granddaughters and grandsons are going to look back and point to the idiots who made this deal with the few people who lived in the Toronto Islands for their own gain. I think here's a good example of how a community -- I'm talking about a community like Metropolitan Toronto -- can be totally and absolutely destroyed, in terms of the legacy for the future, by what's going on here.
The city has before you today some recommendations which, if this is a planned, signed and sealed deal, I think you should look at, because the paltry sum of money you're talking about, in your haste to make a deal with the Toronto Islanders -- the city's just trying to get back its own money, and it's thrown the whole mess back into your lap. If you had any sense of decency and urgency and democracy, you'd throw it back to the government and tell it: "This deal isn't good enough. Draft up another deal, and see if you can come back with something that's based on market value."
I know if you go to market value, you're talking about over $100,000 per unit over there. That's the only fair way to do it.
That's the sum total of my presentation.
The Chair: Mr Stockwell, you're first.
Mr Stockwell: I would just like to leave the time for the government. I think that was well done and I agree with it.
The Chair: Well, then, we have Ms Swarbrick and Mr Marchese, just so you both know.
Ms Swarbrick: Thank you. Speak any time you want me to stop, Rosario.
Thank you, Mr O'Donohue. I think, first of all, that there are a number of people in the audience who would very much disagree with some of the information you've put forward in terms of the original owners. I know we've certainly heard presentations here that convinced me that a number of owners still live there. We heard some information yesterday in terms of people who had been living in the homes that were demolished then becoming some of the new tenants in the parts of the community that are remaining.
I guess what I'd like to ask you about, though, is with regard to the figures that you've put before us, because I think again, as we all know, figures can be very different depending on what perspectives people are considering with. You've talked about the appraisals you've received from different real estate companies of higher values than the price of the land leases, and I'd like to ask: First of all, I assume that those appraisals would be based on the value of both the land and the houses. Is that correct?
Mr O'Donohue: As a matter of fact, what I could leave with the clerk is appendix A -- and they're well worth reading -- which deals with the appraisals that were done by the three appraisers. There are options A, B1 and B2, C1 and C2. Option A is based on Bill 191, option B is based on the proposed legislation at that particular time and options C1 and C2 are based on conventional ground leases.
Ms Swarbrick: I'm assuming that none of the appraisals are based on our legislation. Is that correct?
Mr O'Donohue: No. These are based on actual 1981 values.
Ms Swarbrick: But given very different situations, I would put to you -- given number one, that it included both the house and the land; given number two, that it did not include the restrictions on ownership that these people will be putting up with in terms of what they can then do in terms of disposing of the property, how much equity they can then take out of it. Those are very significant restrictions that those real estate companies would not have been considering at the time. The reference you make to putting --
Mr O'Donohue: Can I answer that question for you?
Ms Swarbrick: Yes. Well, if you can answer in terms of -- are you saying that those appraisals were based on the same contexts --
Mr Stockwell: Why did you ask him if you don't want an answer?
Ms Swarbrick: You should talk.
Mr Stockwell: That's what you keep remarking at me.
The Chair: Order.
Ms Swarbrick: The question I'm putting is, are those appraisals based on the same conditions that our bill includes, which are very restrictive?
Mr O'Donohue: No. As a matter of fact, one of them is more restrictive: C1 and C2 of the ones that I gave you are based on 20 years by 4, which is quite a different thing; B1 and B2 are based on 99 years, one is based on 24 years and this is based on -- I think it's running out in 2004.
Ms Swarbrick: Are any of them based on a very clear restriction on what people can then sell their property for after a number of years?
Mr O'Donohue: I really couldn't tell you, no, because it was a different system at the time.
Ms Swarbrick: That's, I would put to you, why fair market value doesn't apply, because we aren't talking about properties that will ever go out to the free market. They are very much constrained in the conditions attached to them.
I'd like to ask you one other question and that's with regard to Mr Johnston's report. He enlightened us about the Atlin arbitration, to set the rate of the capitalized leases that were felt to be fair, based on, again, a totally independent appraisal but looking at certain constrictions, although not as many as the restrictions we're imposing. According to the Atlin arbitration, the value of the capitalized leases that did include the houses as well as the land -- and this is as arranged by the city -- was set at $46,950 for Ward's Island and $62,586 for Algonquin. Do you know what the conditions were that that arbitrator considered in setting those prices?
Mr O'Donohue: I don't have it here before me, but I could tell you that if you really want to have the fair price of any piece of property, just put it on the market.
Ms Swarbrick: But Mr O'Donohue, that's the point. This land is not being put on the market.
Mr O'Donohue: No, but it could have been put on the market. We have got vacant lots out there right now. Why can't you put it on the market? Why not?
Ms Swarbrick: Just in answering your question, then I'll turn it over to Mr Marchese, I think that again we've got the same point I made this morning with regard to Mr Stockwell. We've got two different views of the world here. We've got a view of the world that looks at putting property on the market to go to the highest bidder, which obviously is in the interest of people who have the highest amount of money in our society, and then we've got the interest of people who want to maintain a community and who want to find ways to work the distribution of land in our society in a way that will allow for affordable housing without people making a killing by speculation on the real estate market. I think those are the two views that you and I represent here, which are different.
Mr O'Donohue: With all due respect, I don't think we do. I think you have very different and, may I say, a very unreal view of real estate. You're saying that houses out there or land out there would be bought by rich people who could afford it. I'm simply saying to you that when you put it on the multiple listing service of the Toronto Real Estate Board, it will give you a true value of what it's worth.
There are some lots that are vacant over there now. All you've got to do is put it into the Toronto Real Estate Board and you'll get all kinds of people who want it. A lot of people who have never owned a house before who may have saved $5,000, $10,000, $15,000 or $20,000 would take a chance in buying it and paying for a mortgage and building out there. They wouldn't be rich people.
Ms Swarbrick: So what you're proposing, which I'd argue with for a number of reasons, is a situation that would provide very clearly for the economic eviction of most of the people who live on the Toronto Islands.
Mr O'Donohue: No, I don't think they're poor at all. If you're talking about economic eviction, there are all kinds of people living out there. It's no different from any other part of the city, no different.
Ms Swarbrick: I will agree with you that certainly some of the residents on the island are not poor. I would certainly put to you that many of the residents of the island would not be able to afford to live there if they had to compete against fair market rates.
Mr O'Donohue: Many residents in my ward could never afford to live there because they're too expensive. They could never afford anything like that. I've got people in poverty in my ward who are paying $700 and $800 for a one-bedroom flat.
Ms Swarbrick: Then I'll close by saying I would think it's in the interests then of those residents to see that a pilot model of using a land trust exists in the city of Toronto so that in fact we can look at how we might better use it to make sure we provide more affordable housing for the people like your constituents. At that point, I'll defer to Mr Marchese for any balance of my time.
The Chair: He's had an opportunity; you can defer to Mr Grandmaître.
Ms Swarbrick: I didn't finish with a question. I finished with a statement.
Mr O'Donohue: I would simply say that I do have a licence in real estate, and I took it just for my own education -- I've never sold anything -- to understand what was happening on the Toronto Islands and what happens to property in a municipality.
My simple view is very clear: If you want to get a market reaction to something, list it and see what kind of reaction you'll get for it as a property. That's the way the system works in our democracy. If you want to sell your home, you can sell it privately or you can put it on the public agenda and try and see who out there is interested in it.
Do the same thing in the Toronto Islands, the lots that are vacant right now. It'll give you a real, true understanding of what property is like, and then you don't have to take any of these appraisals. We paid over $100,000 for the three appraisals we got; they were independent. But that's the way to do it if you want to get an honest and true opinion.
Ms Swarbrick: We're trying to protect the community.
The Chair: Mr Grandmaître.
Mr Marchese: That's was based totally on land and --
The Chair: Mr Marchese --
Mr Stockwell: You guys jump in a lot. You've got no respect for the Chair.
The Chair: Mr Marchese, you're out of order. Mr Grandmaître.
Mr Grandmaître: I remember those appraisals of 1987, because I was the Minister of Municipal Affairs in those days. Don't forget, the ministry at the time, Mr Parliamentary Assistant, if you want to go back to 1986 and 1987, through the Chair to you --
The Chair: No, no. Through the Chair to Mr O'Donohue.
Mr Grandmaître: Geez. We need a flag man here.
The Chair: No, it's always the same.
Mr Grandmaître: The ministry had -- oh, Mr O'Donohue, I'm supposed to be through the Chair.
Mr O'Donohue: Yes, that's all right.
Mr Marchese: We're wasting a lot of time.
Mr Grandmaître: Well, wasting time. I've listened to you for the last 10 minutes.
Mr O'Donohue, in 1987 the ministry had some appraisals done and, if I'm not mistaken, there was only $3,000 or $4,000 in variation between Algonquin and Ward's Island. At that time, if I'm not mistaken, back in 1986 it was still before the courts. We were arguing those appraisal values. Professor Rutherford was saying that when the Liberals were in power they didn't do very much. Well, we negotiated for two and a half years with the islanders and we thought we were getting closer to accommodating the islanders and the government of the day. Don't forget, the island would have been under the Planning Act. We didn't want to foul up the island. We didn't want to use floodplains to --
Mr Marchese: What else were you going to do?
Mr Grandmaître: Mr Marchese, you'd make a great echo.
I just want to say, Mr Chair, that I agree with Councillor O'Donohue. I think a lot has been said. To go back and say, "Well, Mr Bob Rae said this in 1990" -- Mr Bob Rae changes his mind every 90 minutes, never mind 1990.
The Chair: Do you have a question for Mr O'Donohue?
Mr Grandmaître: No, I just wanted to say that I agree with his presentation and that I think the islanders are getting a very good deal.
The Chair: You can respond to that if you wish.
Mr O'Donohue: I would suggest to you that you have a presentation here as well from the city of Toronto. I was wondering whether or not that has been presented.
The Chair: Mr Perlin was here yesterday to give that presentation to us.
Mr O'Donohue: I was wondering whether or not there would be any thought given to this 99-year lease. I mean, that's one of the things that bothers me. I think that's key, because when we're gone from politics and the next generation and the generation after that come, I think there should be some way of reviewing that. Rather than having the 99 years and looking back and saying what an awful deal was made, I think there should be some way of reviewing this, say, about 10 or 15 years from now or every 15 years, so that does not become the preserve of the rich. I'm going to say that, people who can afford to have someplace like that on a leaseback through the back door or something like that, because that's what's going to happen there. I would like some consideration given to that. I'm assuming that the way the government is stacked on this, it's going to go through, but I'm just looking to future generations of Torontonians, and indeed Ontarians, that they might be able to cancel this deal some time if that happens.
Mr Grandmaître: Like GST.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr O'Donohue. We appreciate your comments.
IAN J. BROWN
The Chair: The next presentation is Ian Brown. Good afternoon, Mr Brown. That's a great name. Welcome to the committee. You have 15 minutes allocated for your presentation.
Mr Ian J. Brown: Good afternoon. Thank you, Mr Chairman and committee members. I first moved to the island in 1981 and, with a few brief interruptions, have lived there ever since. Along the way I've been joined by a wife and two children. One of them attends the island school. I'm a member of the Toronto Island Residents Association executive. This is my first year on the executive. In fact, I became involved because I became quite interested and concerned that this situation be resolved.
I'd like to present to you today a few of my own views about Bill 61 which I hope may add something to your deliberations. I encourage you to consider improvements to the bill, particularly those recommended by the people who will have to live with it, the island residents, but I also would like to say that though perhaps not perfect, this bill represents a much-needed solution to securing the future of this unique community.
I guess I should give you a bit more about my qualifications. Though not a planner, I have worked for a number of years in municipal planning. I'm currently the director of economic development for the city of Etobicoke. I have degrees in commerce and business administration and I'm a member in good standing of the professional land economists, entitled to use the letters PLE after my name. I have visited a large number of waterfront communities in the past 20 years, during which time I was from time to time a member of Canada's national sailing team.
The island community is unique in many ways, but viewing it as an economic development professional, I would say it's a tremendous asset to Toronto and the surrounding area. It's the kind of thing upon which Toronto's reputation as a livable city is based. As someone who looks for elements to promote, to attract business and investment to the area, it very definitely is an asset worth preserving.
There are two key issues I would like to talk about today. There are many of course. The first one, in most detail -- I've distributed a small handout to you -- is the issue of affordability for the individual. I think I myself would have preferred a totally market solution to this situation, but then I guess I might be viewed as one of the higher-income members of the community.
In deciding whether that was the appropriate thing to go after, I had to consider that there are other members of the community and that this community is something I believe is worth preserving in its current form and with its current mix of individuals residing there.
By calculating what I myself will have to pay in terms of a monthly cost, I believe I was able to come to a better understanding of this matter of affordability, particularly thinking about it in terms of seniors and single-parent families who would potentially not be able to afford this. I believe it is for this reason that the bill provides for an affordable solution, but I will show in this chart that affordability is perhaps something that may not be available to everybody.
What may seem initially like a low price for the lease in actual fact is paid for over the long term, because what is being purchased is nothing in terms of the conventional form of ownership to which the previous speaker referred. If events of the past 30 years are any indication, this asset, which hopefully I will be able to purchase in a short while, will slowly and continuously lose value relative to the CPI and will rapidly and continuously lose value relative to other real estate prices. So we're paying a low initial price but a high ongoing price.
My first recommendation -- I believe other presenters have already referred to this more fully -- would be that the formula for the price should be amended to ensure inflation neutrality.
Going to the chart, I anticipate a few questions here. First of all, the first line reflects the difference in the lease price between Ward's and Algonquin islands. I myself, living on Ward's, would pay roughly $300 a month for a mortgage.
Anybody who has improved his home will have had substantial costs. Anybody who has not improved his home to this point will have to incur those costs. From my experience of having had to do that, I would think anybody who has made no improvements to his home will be facing a bare minimum of $50,000 to bring it up to code. In actual fact, I know I have far more than that invested in my house in terms of improvements.
Of course, at this stage it's not possible to get a mortgage on that. One has to borrow with a personal loan. I estimate that at $400. Taxes, based on my own property taxes, will run approximately $60 a month. Utilities -- I have the bills to show it -- run about $190 a month; insurance, $50; maintenance -- I've put in what I think is a conservative figure there, remembering these are frame houses that require a lot of upkeep.
These are out-of-pocket costs. Your maintenance may be recovered if indeed you sell the house at some point down the road, but for the individual with limited cash resources and limited income resources, those are real dollars that have to be paid out when the roof needs replacement, the house needs painting or various improvements are required.
There's a proposed sewer levy which is approximately $45 a month. I guess this is a good point at which to tell you where I'm leading. I wish to point out how this would compare to other housing alternatives in the city of a comparable nature in terms of cost. The sewer levy is not something others would have to incur.
There will also be a land trust levy. My estimate here is just that, an estimate, but it's based on preliminary budgets that have been prepared.
My cost for the ferry is $220 a month. That's for two adults and two children, one of the adults travelling seven days a week, the other not quite as frequently and the children also not quite as frequently.
I also pay $200 a month for parking. I use my car for business. My wife also requires a car. We've actually negotiated reasonably decent prices on parking for that area.
This comes out to about $1,600 a month. I also estimate an opportunity cost on money already invested. That plus the interest on the cost of improvements equates to the amount of money I have invested in this house at present. I tend to ignore that, because it's after tax and because it's something that would not be a cash cost for the average person. I guess my point here is that it would not be difficult, for $1,600 a month, to rent a fairly desirable bit of accommodation on the waterfront with comparable views and amenities today.
I've also done a bit of an analysis vis-â-vis home ownership. I estimate these figures compare quite favourably to owning a house that would cost in the neighbourhood of $200,000. An interesting sidelight to this is that if I were to sell today in what is essentially a free market, I could afford to go and buy a house in the neighbourhood of $250,000 to $260,000, which is substantially above the average house price in Metropolitan Toronto, and incur no further cost.
To wrap up on this point of affordability, sure, people have chosen to live here and some of these costs are a result of having chosen that lifestyle, but what I'm talking about here is the actual out-of-pocket monthly cost that people are going to incur. Particularly, I'm concerned about seniors and other people on fixed incomes.
I would like to suggest that a couple of the previous recommendations be given serious consideration, namely, that those people who might have some difficulty affording this be given a trial period. I won't go into the details of that because, again, I believe it's been mentioned before; also, the deferral as far as seniors are concerned be extended to any senior who's eligible to purchase a lease. I feel it's very important to give people that option of home ownership when they have been living in a circumstance where they've enjoyed those kinds of benefits over the last few years.
I'd also like to make a few fairly informal comments, having read with interest the city of Toronto solicitor's report, in terms of the planning process. I think the reasons have been amply described as to why it's not possible in terms of the proposed bill to include all the provisions of the planning process, and the solicitor makes a plea for some right of appeal on behalf of the city.
I would argue to you that the individuals who perhaps most need the right of appeal are those who are going to be affected by the decisions. In some cases, such as pertaining to provision of services, the city will in fact require that, but particularly it's the person who's going to have a structure built next to him -- and I would extend this, of course, to people living in the immediate area, our neighbours along the waterfront -- who may be impacted by increased parking requirements as a result of the proposals of the bill. But, I guess, having viewed many battles in this forum in terms of the concerns of residents, what I believe must be protected here is the right of the individual who may be affected to appeal.
I would just like to close by saying I still feel that the provisions of the bill are valid, because we cannot afford in this circumstance to have things tied up with delaying mechanisms which, of course, the province has been attempting to address through the Sewell commission at present. So I'd like to speak strongly in favour of the bill and ask for a few minor improvements. I'd certainly be glad to answer any questions.
The Chair: One quick question from each caucus, starting with the government.
Ms Swarbrick: I think it was helpful.
The Chair: The Liberal Party, Mr Eddy.
Mr Eddy: Mr Brown, in view of your occupation, are you not rather disturbed and incensed over the objectives of the government to exempt the islands from the planning processes and the protection of floodplains? Does that not disturb you, in view of your work?
Mr Ian J. Brown: Well, certainly, I'm not incensed. I've mentioned some things that I think would improve it. I don't know; I think perhaps "disturbed" might be a little strong, but let's put it this way: I would be reassured if those kinds of provisions that I mentioned were provided.
Mr Stockwell: Yes, quickly. I know Mr Brown, actually. He works in the city of Etobicoke, so I'm a little more close to the situation, I suppose, in your particular case than your typical islander. But the comment on your monthly budget: It's almost laughable, to be truthful, to even make the comparison that somehow the operation of this thing gets you up to $2,000 a month.
Mr Brown would know quite well, knowing the city of Etobicoke as I'm sure you do now considering you've worked there for the past number of years, that you can go down to Mimico, Alderwood, Long Branch, New Toronto and find a comparable home, in some instances on postage-stamp lots; it would sell for $150,000 or $200,000. Their mortgage with nothing down would probably be in the neighbourhood of $1,500 to $2,000 a month.
There's the real crunch. You pay $300, and this person will pay $1,500 to $2,000 a month for their house. Anything else below that is, so what? Everyone pays taxes on anything they own. Utilities: Well, cut your cable off if you don't want to pay that. Insurance: Everyone's got to insure their building or their place. Maintenance and the value of the structure: I own a home; I've got maintenance on my house as well. The sewer levy is different, $45; the land trust levy of $40.
The ferry: Well, yeah, you've got to pay the ferry, and probably someone's got to jump on the bus or do whatever it costs to run an automobile if they happen to live in Rexdale, which is significantly more than $220 a month. Parking at $200: That's what you're going to pay for parking. Lots of people don't have enough space in parking; they get on-street parking, and it costs them money per month.
So really, you know, so what? You're operating a house. I accept the fact you're operating a house. Everybody pays these costs when they operate a house. That's the process of buying a house. If you don't want to pay them, don't buy the house.
The big difference is mortgage. You're going to pay $300 a month. You can buy a house on a postage-stamp lot in Mimico, Long Branch and New Toronto for the same size, in some instances the same quality of house, as you would know, and pay $200,000: $2,000-a-month mortgage compared to $300.
Take this to those people and explain to them how yours is going to cost you $2,000 and it's going to cost them $4,000; you get to live there for 99 years, they pay their mortgage off over 25 years. That's the only difference. If they pay their mortgage off after 25 years, they can sell it as they wish, and this gentleman will get a lease for 99 years to pass on to his children and his children's children and so on. That's the difference between $200,000 and $300,000 and $36,000. This should be entered in the fantasy section of this debate, Mr Chairman.
Mr Ian J. Brown: Mr Chairman, I'm presuming that there's a question there about --
Mr Stockwell: There was no question. If you want to comment, be my guest.
Mr Ian J. Brown: -- the costs, but I point out to Mr Stockwell, through you, Mr Chairman, that the costs I've listed are all costs which a renter would not incur.
Mr Stockwell: You're buying.
Mr Ian J. Brown: Okay. I'm comparing it first to the possibility of renting comparable accommodations, and then in fact I've compared it to the cost of purchasing. In those calculations -- and I'm removing the opportunity cost issue -- there's a $40,000 sum that's available for a down payment, and on a $200,000 house that would leave a $160,000 mortgage which would have to be paid. You can further deduct the $50,000 that I have invested in the house. Mr Stockwell's comment that all I'm paying is $300 per month for my house is not correct; there's $90,000 worth of value there which has been paid for already.
Mr Stockwell: You didn't own it. That was your mistake.
Mr Ian J. Brown: I paid contractors.
Mr Stockwell: Caveat emptor, my friend.
Mr Ian J. Brown: This person in Mimico who you suggest might be happy to pay that kind of money would pay only for a lot then and wouldn't be able to live very comfortably on a vacant lot.
Mr Stockwell: Nobody asked you to buy the house.
The Chair: That's an adequate response. Thank you, Mr Brown, for coming today.
Mr Ian J. Brown: Thank you, Mr Chairman.
The Chair: We have two matters that I think it would be appropriate for us to speak to. First, Mr Mills would like to clarify issues surrounding the Planning Act.
Mr Mills: Not exactly about the Planning Act, but there has been considerable discussion about the potential flooding, the risk of a potential flood etc. I can make a couple of comments. MNR has indicated that the sea walls, along with other protective works, are in need of repair. Remedial work must be carried out in order to protect the existing community on the islands. New development can safely take place in selected areas once work to protect existing development is under way. A steering committee has been established in order to evaluate appropriate remedial work. Given the general state of disrepair of the existing sea walls and other protective structures, MNR is saying that the work would have to be carried out on the Toronto Islands irrespective of Bill 61 being passed or not. I hope that clarifies, to a degree, the flood situation.
Mr Grandmaître: Thank you for the information. I agree with you that you can do just about anything if you really want to pay to develop or put up a project or a building on a floodplain. I realize this. It's being done every day. Is it feasible, though, if we want to build a co-op? To me, a co-op is to add, let's say, a residence at an affordable rate. Will it be affordable with all those extra costs you've talked about, the engineering cost, because there are a lot of costs involved in what you've just mentioned? Will it still be affordable? That's my question.
Mr Mills: It has to be done anyway. It doesn't matter.
Mr Grandmaître: No, it doesn't have to be done. You don't have to intensify the density. You don't have to.
Mr Mills: No, it has to protect the existing community there.
Mr Grandmaître: Yes, but --
Mr Mills: It's got to be done.
Mr Grandmaître: You're talking about two things: You're talking about an existing problem and also you're talking about intensifying the density, and it's going to cost you twice as much, maybe three times as much, to provide these services to approve a development. This is what I'm getting at.
Mr Mills: Yes. I'm suggesting that --
Mr Grandmaître: To improve the shoreline, you've got to do it.
Mr Mills: What we have to do has no bearing whatsoever on the co-op. It's got to be done anyway to protect what's there now.
Mr Grandmaître: Yes, but, Gord, I'm saying more will have to be done to increase the density. This is what I'm getting at.
Mr Mills: Not according to the --
Mr Marchese: Just as a response, because it was raised, Mr Chair --
Mr Grandmaître: You will have to build on stilts.
Mr Marchese: Two things. There's an existing sea wall. In the view of many, that existing sea wall has been in good shape for a long time and is likely to be in good shape for a long time. As the parliamentary assistant has said, whatever work needs to be done to the sea wall, if there has to be, would have to be done in either case. Whether there is additional building or not, it might have to be done in either case. This improvement to the sea wall is not being done because, all of a sudden, we're going to get more housing of the units.
Mr Stockwell: We understand that.
Mr Marchese: Oh, I'm glad.
Mr Stockwell: Now tell us what it's going to cost. We understand that. That's clear as glass.
Mr Marchese: It didn't seem to be.
Mr Stockwell: The question is, what is it going to cost to build the co-op on floodplain land? The sea wall's got nothing to do with the cost.
Mr Grandmaître: It's been there for 100 years.
Mr Marchese: That's not a problem.
The Chair: I'm certainly glad we've clarified this issue.
Mr Mills: I shouldn't have said anything.
Mr Grandmaître: No problem. It's only money. He says it's only money.
The Chair: Order.
Mr Stockwell: Put that into the record. Rosario said it's not a problem.
Mr Mills: That's what you get for being helpful. I was trying to be helpful.
The Chair: Order. I'm almost afraid to clarify the next issue. Yesterday Mr Stockwell asked that the research people would get the Supreme Court ruling regarding the Toronto Islands and, Lorraine, you have that and I think it's been distributed to the members. We have Susan Swift here to take us through that.
Mr Marchese: Could we do this at the end?
The Chair: We do have a witness who has been rescheduled, so actually this is more convenient for everyone.
Ms Susan Swift: It will take just a matter of a few brief minutes. You have two documents, I think, that have been passed out to you. The first is the decision of the Divisional Court. It has the date on it, April 25, 1984. The second is excerpts from the Atlin arbitration report, which sort of makes sense or gives some meaning to the Divisional Court decision because without it, it's a bit vague.
The Divisional Court was asked to rule on five questions submitted to it by the arbitrator and it answers, of course, yes to question 2. That question is posed in the arbitrator's report. If you look at page 10 of the report, it says, "As a matter of contract, if the leases between the tenants and Metro (or the city) were terminated and not void" -- and that deals with the first issue the arbitrator looked at -- "do the leases determine who is the owner of the building." The Divisional Court has ruled that, yes, it does.
In fact, they say on page 3 of their decision, "In regard to question 2, it is our view that the question of ownership of the structures on the lands is res judicata" -- meaning that the issue has already been determined by the courts -- "it having of necessity been determined to be in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto as a result of the decisions of various of our courts in the proceedings relating to the writs of possession."
In other words, the issue was not squarely before the courts previously, but because of the decisions of the courts on the writs of possession, it has to have been determined.
The history on the writs of possession and the court proceedings preceding the arbitrator's report and the Divisional Court decision are also set out in the arbitrator's report. This is just for your information. If you look at page 6 and following, it sets out the various decisions that preceded the arbitrator's report. I believe that's the decision you were looking for.
Mr Stockwell: Right. In layman's terms, who owns the houses and who owns the property?
Ms Swift: Metro owns both.
Ms Swarbrick: According to?
Ms Swift: According to the Divisional Court.
Mr Stockwell: The law. Thank you.
Ms Swarbrick: No, according to a report that's been done that pre-dates the legislation, of course, that's now being put in, and --
The Chair: The question is, does the court decision --
Ms Swarbrick: It's contrary to the position of the three political parties in the province.
Mr Stockwell: God help me. There must be a God. Help me. Please, Lord, help me.
Mr Mammoliti: Only the Lord can help you.
The Chair: Whoa.
Mr Stockwell: I think so. Looking across, I know it. I know He is. George, I believe it.
The Chair: Are there some questions of Ms Swift regarding --
Mr Mammoliti: No, we'd better hurry up and get this legislation through.
Ms Swarbrick: One question: Is it not true that courts in fact expropriate property as well?
Mr Grandmaître: Rush it through, eh, George?
The Chair: Order.
Ms Swift: Yes, it's my understanding they do.
Ms Swarbrick: It was claimed yesterday that this is the view of the islanders in terms of the effect of this court decision, that it's expropriation.
The Chair: Thank you. We appreciate it.
Ms Swift: You're very welcome.
The Chair: Thanks to the entire research department.
We will take a 10-minute recess.
The committee recessed at 1432 and resumed at 1449.
QUEEN CITY YACHT CLUB
The Chair: The committee will come to order. The next presentation will be made by the Queen City Yacht Club, Mr Wayne Smith and Mr Don Martin. Good afternoon. The committee has allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. Introduce yourself and your position within the yacht club and start as you will.
Mr Wayne Smith: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. My name, as you read, is Wayne Smith. This year I am the commodore of the Queen City Yacht Club. Scheduled to join me today is Don Martin. He's also a member of the yacht club and he's club counsel. He would be able to speak to some of the points of the bill a little better than I could, but I believe he's detained in court, so I'll go ahead and proceed.
What I plan to do in the short time allotted is to give a little background on Queen City Yacht Club, try to illustrate for you the interest of our club in this bill and this whole proceeding, identify a few problems we see at this stage that we're confident will be able to be dealt with, and finally, concerning those issues I'll raise, I brought a book that we had prepared marking the centennial year of the club in 1989 and it will illustrate some of the points I'll talk to specifically on the club location.
Briefly, then, Queen City was formed in 1889. Today, by many standards of yachting facilities, we're a very small club. We have about 250 members. Our roster shows about 40 of those members are island residents. Access to membership at our club is completely undiscriminatory. The objects of our club are to encourage members to become proficient in the management and handling of their yachts and in navigation, all matters pertaining to seamanship, and to promote yacht architecture, building, sailing and yacht racing.
Queen City first came to Algonquin Island in 1920 or 1921. The city clubhouse facilities, near the foot of York Street, collapsed into the harbour one night after, the story has it, the harbour commission was dredging nearby and the shifting sand caused the club to collapse. We took over the lease, and then it was called Sunfish Island. The records show that at that time the only other occupant on Sunfish Island was a YMCA camp. They're not there any more. The houses, we are told, were added in 1938. So we consider ourselves about the oldest continuing resident on Algonquin Island.
We run an active racing program for our members. We participate in other clubs in the promotion of sailing. We have quite a junior sailing program which we're very proud of. About 75 youngsters each year participate in July and August in a full-time sail training program that's open to members' children and non-members' as well. We are what we call, in our own words, a working man's club, and what that means, quite simply, is that we're self-help and usually, for most members, it means we have a lot of work.
Ms Swarbrick: Do you allow women?
Mr Smith: Oh, certainly. We have two women members on the board of directors right now and probably in senior members there must be at least half a dozen.
Mr Marchese: So it's a workers' club.
The Chair: Wait. There's an opportunity to ask questions.
Mr Marchese: A working persons' club.
Mr Smith: I'll correct that; I'm sorry.
The membership undertakes all club maintenance activities that we physically can do. A good example of our work ethic, and I'll just point it out to you, is our haul out and launch of boats each year, which we do manually on greased timbers. It's quite a team effort and I think it's one of the best examples of club spirit that you could see.
Our small membership is constrained by our location at the island, and we accept that. The mooring capability is already small. The island location causes us to incur many costs. We have to run a fleet of boats to operate the club. Shipping goods over and what not is more expensive.
I guess in the brief time we've had to prepare on the bill -- I can certainly point out to you that we hadn't been involved in this process as a club board until about two weeks ago -- we can see and have the sense that the establishment of the trust is a viable solution to the island residents' situation. We support the island community. I want to make that very clear, and we wish it to remain very strong and vital. We're part of this environment, and of course the same goes that we want to see ourselves remain strong and viable. In this regard, we hope that the trust would not alter in any way, compromise or affect or damage at all, the long-term viability of Queen City.
In this regard, I can raise that our single concern at this stage is that about two thirds of our moorings on Algonquin Island and Ward's Island are on to sea walls and parklands that are not adjacent to the club-leased ground, and therefore, as things sit today in the bill, it's not part of the exclusion included on the scheduled properties.
The specific points of the draft bill that we see right now in the object of the trust, the plans for the lands and buildings to be vested in the province, then the trust, determination of leases and then finally in what is scheduled properties say only the lands on Algonquin Island that are leased to us now are excluded from the schedule. Our use of the sea walls for moorings and the parkland to get on and off the boats is a fundamental requirement for the club. Queen City must be assured access and continued use, and I'd say unfettered use, of that land for moorings. Also, the junior club facilities are in the same shoreline area.
The existing lease arrangement with Metropolitan Toronto includes the shoreline on Algonquin and Ward's islands. It does specify, I believe, that the moorings are to be governed by the regulations of the Toronto harbour commissioners.
One consideration that I can raise to you that the Metro lease gives the club right now is that it assures us somewhat of being able to maintain a competitive position and viability vis-à-vis the other clubs. Metro negotiates periodically a standard term of lease for all Metro area yacht clubs, and although we feel that with the island location we have more costs and our lease should be lower, at least it gives us somewhat of a cap. The Metro lease gives us an automatic renewal right for 21-year periods and that type of being-able-to-grandfather lease provision, being assured of some competitive benchmark in terms of the lease, is very necessary for the continuing survival and viability of the yacht club.
The only other concerns I raise at this stage, and I gather your hearings will be reviewing this in detail, is that we're concerned that with the creation of the trust we'll still be able to maintain all the services that are available: the maintenance of the parklands, for instance; services as routine as garbage cans located along the road to keep the park clean; regular maintenance work on the trees, the roads; the provisions of picnic tables that has been done year after year by Metro and by the city; access to the boardwalk, the beaches, the public playgrounds etc -- that all that continues.
Because of the sea wall and the access on and off the sea wall outside the area adjacent to the club lease, just being able to continue those privileges and rights on into the future is one thing, but we're also concerned practically that some body, higher authority with the resources available to it, will be responsible for maintaining that wall.
There are areas of the wall that will fall into disrepair, or are starting to now, and we can certainly foresee the point in time where some work would have to be done. In the area where the sea wall ends from in front of the fire hall area, it's just shoreline and beach. We've installed a floating dock assembly there because the water is shallow, and what is happening is that the beach is eroding into the lagoon and it's going back further and further. I think at some point in time we're certainly going to have to address the necessity for a sea wall or shoreline protection.
That's the extent of my comments. I think the only thing I could add is that I brought a copy of this centennial book that we commissioned in 1989, and the main purpose of it -- it certainly gives quite a history of the islands and our place on the islands, but there's a very good picture, an aerial photograph of the yacht club, and it shows in very plain and simple terms how we occupy the wall and what the sea wall access and the adjacent parkland means to the club.
We have existed this way for many years. As I said, we were the first resident on Algonquin Island. We'd like to see this relationship maintained and in fact secured. We think the principles in the drafting of the bill so far have certainly contemplated the place for Queen City Yacht Club by, in the schedule, excluding the lands that we lease. The only proviso that we want to identify at this time is that very important consideration has to be given to the two thirds of our actual boating facility that's tied on the wall.
I could certainly leave a copy of this, but if I could circulate to the members this picture that shows the sea wall, the only thing I can add to help illustrate is that the leased portion of the yacht club is this portion here with the buildings, and you can see the marine cradles. The leased portion I'm referring to that I believe should be covered in the act is all along here and then this whole wall along Ward's Island.
The Chair: I think Mr Mammoliti has a question.
Mr Mammoliti: Excuse me for being so naïve in terms of yachts and yacht clubs. I've never been able to afford such a luxury. That's why I need to ask some of these questions. First of all, in terms of leasing the spots you have for your yacht club, do you lease them from Metro?
Mr Smith: Metropolitan Toronto.
Mr Mammoliti: What are the charges for the lease? How does that work?
Mr Smith: I don't have the particulars of the lease here. There's an acreage charge based on the land and I believe the water rights we have, and also the shoreline.
Mr Mammoliti: What do you pay to Metro a month to lease it?
Mr Smith: I don't have the exact number. I think the lease for the sea wall and the acreage, which is probably two or three point something acres, might be in the order of $7,000 or $8,000 a year.
Mr Mammoliti: How many members do you have in the yacht club?
Mr Smith: There are 250 members in all categories.
Mr Mammoliti: What do they pay?
Mr Smith: It's very different rates. The senior members of the club, who are primarily the boat owners and operators, are about 125 members out of the 250.
Mr Mammoliti: What do they pay to be members?
Mr Smith: Annual dues at the yacht club are about $1,000.
Mr Mammoliti: A year?
Mr Smith: Yes; then the mooring fees.
Mr Mammoliti: So monthly it's $7,000 to Metro to lease?
Mr Smith: Yes.
Ms Swarbrick: Per year, you said.
Mr Smith: Per year, yes.
Mr Mammoliti: It's $7,000 a year?
Mr Smith: Yes.
Mr Mammoliti: To lease from Metro.
Mr Smith: And that's for the lease on --
Mr Mammoliti: What does that work out to, then, per member, in terms of a daily premium? What does that work out to per member?
Mr Smith: I didn't bring my calculator.
Mr Mammoliti: Is it anywhere around $1 a day? I'm just wondering.
Mr Smith: I think the net result, and the important thing to keep in mind here, is that it's easy for you to sit there and say you've never been able to afford to join a yacht club. Today our junior members can start out sailing for about $300. That's how much it costs to learn how to sail and join the club as a junior member. As we have to accommodate boats and what not, our rates are competitive and intended to be competitive with Toronto Island Marina. They're certainly a lot less than the other island yacht clubs.
Mr Mammoliti: I'm sorry to cut you off. I still wouldn't be able to afford it. I think Mr Marchese would like to ask some questions.
The Chair: Mr Marchese may ask a question if the opposition doesn't have a question.
Mr Mammoliti: Can I give him any time that's left over?
The Chair: There isn't any.
Mr Grandmaître: I just have a few short questions. You refer to the shoreline and the sea wall and so on and so forth. I must admit that I'm not too familiar with your lease. Can you tell us, in your lease, who is responsible for the shoreline and the sea wall? I mean the condition of the sea wall.
Mr Smith: It's leased -- and this will get a little bit beyond my understanding -- from Metropolitan Toronto. The long-term relationship is that Metro controlled the park and the sea wall. Now the wall is --
Mr Grandmaître: But in your lease, though. I'm talking about --
Mr Smith: We lease the shoreline. What that includes is access to the sea wall, on and off the boats etc. I don't think it's clearly set out right now who would maintain the sea wall if it caved in, for instance. I think, with the existing levels of government responsibility, today it would be split between Metro and the city. The only concern I raise is that with Metro and the city out, and it's the responsibility of the trust, it might not be equipped with the resources to repair something like that. The old marine facilities a few years ago, the wall at the north end of the eastern gap caved in. Things like that happen just with age.
Mr Grandmaître: Who repaired it?
Mr Smith: It's still sitting there. They put some buoys around it.
Mr Grandmaître: And you're paying $7,000 a year.
The Chair: Thank you, Mr Smith. The time allocated has expired. We appreciate you coming today.
Mr Smith: Thank you for the opportunity.
The Chair: I'm sure all members will have a look at the book that you showed us.
Mr Smith: I could leave that with the committee, if it would be helpful.
TORONTO ISLAND LAND TRUST
The Chair: The next presentation will be made by the Toronto Island Land Trust, Sarah Miller. Good afternoon. You've been allocated one half-hour by the committee for your presentation.
Ms Sarah Miller: I hope I won't need it all. I'll try to be fast. I have lived on the island with my daughter for 22 years. I work as a community legal worker in Toronto for the Canadian Environmental Law Association, and I'm speaking today primarily as one of the islanders who originated, I guess, the idea of applying the land trust concept to our community and brought that idea to the attention of the provincial special adviser, Richard Johnston. I am also on the executive of the residents' association and on the board of the Flying Toad Co-operative Homes.
When we first started to look at the concept of land trust, we loosely termed the group that was doing it the Toronto Island Land Trust, TILT, and it felt very much as if we were in fact tilting at windmills. It was an idea that we ourselves didn't know that much about. However, once we started to look into the history of the land trust movement, we really found that it was a growing one, not only in the United States but here in Canada, and that a lot of people in Ontario are looking into land trusts as a new tool to solve many of the old, chronic problems, particularly planning problems.
To give you a bit of history, islanders have always anticipated that any resolution of the island issue would involve a non-profit option, so in 1978 we established a co-op. After this government was elected, there was an occasion, a political will, to look at this question again. We dusted off the co-op corporate papers that dated back to 1978 and started to look them over. One of the things that we discovered when we looked at it and kept hearing from people was that our co-op model was much more like a land trust model, in many ways, than a co-op.
So a group of four island women decided to really look further into the land trust model. What we found was in fact that it was a model that mirrored in very many ways the characteristics of the existing community. Because it had so much promise for our own community, we also feel that it has a lot of promise for other communities in Ontario.
I'd like to give you a little history of the land trust movement, because it is really very interesting. It began in the United States and was spawned by the economist Dr E.F. Schumacher. Schumacher, in turn, was inspired by the success of work that Gandhi had done on land reforms in India, where something called "grandams," community-owned lands, were given to landless people to farm, and allowed them to be self-sufficient. Schumacher's book, Small Is Beautiful: Economics As If People Mattered, suggested that such small-scale development like land trusts adds value to local communities, because that value is never lost to those communities, but it remains with them always.
The civil rights movement in the 1960s created the very first land trust in North America to overcome rural poverty by providing land to a group of black farmers in Leesburg, Georgia. That trust is still very successful and going on today. The removal of the cost of the land from the equation allowed those people to remain on the farm, make farming viable and afford their housing and shelter costs as well. The value added by individuals' efforts accrued to the value of the community by building its self-reliance. As one founder of the land trust has said, "Only in small, bounded and peculiar places can we be human."
Because of the happy accident of geography, I think the Toronto Islands are one of those very small and peculiar places. Our boundaries and isolation have led to a kind of natural development of a local economy of scale which the land trust movement has always tried to achieve. When islanders need funds for some community projects they sell goods and services to each other. One island-established tradition is the dream auction to raise funds for island children to go on trips. This auction often offers not only goods but also all kinds of services, like free carpentry, plumbing and gardening advice.
Self-reliance is another goal of community land trusts and one that has been a necessity for the island community. Rather than turning to mainland agencies to provide services, the island community has provided its own by creating such things as a school, many day cares, food and building co-ops in the past and a health care network. I'm sure you've heard of a lot of these and will continue to hear of them in the next few days.
Another fundamental principle of the land trust movement is the promotion of active stewardship of the land. That too has a parallel in the past efforts of the island community, which has worked hard with city parks and a special committee to stop spraying programs, to protect environmentally sensitive areas and to replenish dwindling island trees. Beach cleanups, community composts and gardening projects are also regular activities of our community. The community land trust model, as we learned more about it, fit not only the islanders' housing goals of limited equity, no economic eviction and the retention of public ownership and enjoyment of the parklands but truly mirrored the way the community has carried out its life.
Yesterday Mr Johnston was asked by some members if the land trust model has potential for other Ontario communities. As I've mentioned, many people are endeavouring to create their own land trusts now in Ontario. Since the 1960s, land trusts have steadily developed in the United States, and the most successful kinds of trusts are the conservation land trusts, which have saved millions of acres of wetlands, forests and environmentally significant lands from development. These trusts are growing as fast as the rate of about one a week. Trusts to preserve agricultural lands are keeping farms viable and affordable. In large American cities the urban poor are getting a new start by converting their poor-quality rental units into revitalized community trusts. Local businesses and banks are sharing in those investments by helping to fund them. There are land trust advocacy groups, and they increasingly have Canadian members, like the Land Trust Alliance and the Institute for Community Economics. They provide not only practical advice but also utilize revolving loan funds to help land trusts get started.
Recently in Ontario was the first gathering of land trust advocates hosted by the University of Guelph, and there many people shared stories of their successes in resolving local land use disputes by creating trusts. The province and local governments I think are right now focusing a tremendous amount of their own resources on reforming land use planning. The Sewell commission's New Planning for Ontario, the recent Royal Commission on the Future of the Toronto Waterfront, Toronto's Cityplan '91, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs policy guidelines on growth and settlement and even Metro's new draft plan all espouse more community involvement in planning and the principles of stewardship and community care over lands.
Planning in the province really is desperately in need of reform because it's become such an acrimonious exercise, and mostly an exercise in saying no. Community land trusts offer a tool for communities to say yes to planning because it's their planning. It comes from the grass roots up and it creates value within communities rather than lining the pockets of developers.
It's very important that the government realize that healthy community trusts will be trusts with diverse aspects. Just as the island trust merges affordable housing and park preservation goals, there is a real need being demonstrated for other multipurpose trusts. Right now, in response to this public interest from a variety of sectors, the province's ministries of Agriculture and Food, Natural Resources, Housing and the Ontario Heritage Foundation are all independently considering the trust model. It will be very important for all of the province's agencies to cooperate on and coordinate their work to allow for a very flexible model for land trusts that can be adapted by communities to their own needs. Trusts won't work if they are top-down and are not seen to be community-generated. There is a serious risk that this could happen to the Toronto Islands community trust as it is currently structured in Bill 61.
The task of making the very first community trust in Ontario a success is a daunting one for our community. We certainly will not be able to retire to a well-deserved rest. After we sign our leases, the real work will begin. We will have to continue our plans for building new housing. We'll have to generate a plan with the scope of a Metro official plan. We're going to have to plan for continued and improved park use with park users and the city, and plan for the maintenance and use of the three public buildings that will now become our responsibility as the result of Bill 61.
If individual islanders are not allowed to democratically elect their own representatives qualified to serve on the trust to carry out this work, the purpose of the trust will be threatened. If community control is not enshrined in the legislation, the self-reliance that's so essential to the success of the trust will be jeopardized. We feel this is fundamental to the success of this first provincial-community partnership, and we would ask you to please accept the amendment proposed this morning by our lawyer, Bruce Lewis, to ensure that our trust continues in our partnership trust and that the Toronto Islands can continue to be a much better, slightly bigger but still human and very peculiar place.
The Chair: The Liberal caucus first. No questions?
Mr Grandmaître: Well, maybe a short one.
The Chair: All right.
Mr Grandmaître: Ms Miller, you do put a lot of emphasis on the future planning of the islands. I asked the question earlier this morning, how come the minister has excluded the islands from the Planning Act? It has me very, very concerned, because you're absolutely right. With the John Sewell commission and all the commissions that are going around this province trying to improve planning legislation, for the first time we're excluding the Planning Act. We're putting the Planning Act aside, and it has me very concerned that the minister will have the power -- if not the Planning Act, then the minister will acquire those powers -- to do just about anything he or the ministry wants to do. It has me concerned. Are you aware that the islands will be excluded from the Planning Act?
Ms Miller: Yes, I am.
Mr Grandmaître: What do you think of the situation?
Ms Miller: In a way, it gives me relief, because I don't think this issue should be revisited again by a tribunal or a court. We have spent decades and decades in the courts and tribunals going over and over this issue.
Mr Grandmaître: No. I realize this. But the fact that everybody else is guided --
Ms Miller: I think the intention of the exclusion was to avoid a long and lengthy, drawn-out OMB hearing, revisiting the issues that have been visited for years and years. I have faith that the community will, if anything, overdo the planning exercise. I think you're going to be hearing from a witness a bit later this afternoon about our stewardship committee and the exhaustive efforts that both that committee and the co-op have already put into beginnings of a planning process.
I would hope that the role of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs on the board of the land trust -- it will be sitting on the board -- will act as the province has acted in special planning policy areas, like the whole waterfront, where it has declared those areas as special policy areas and has become involved in the future planning. I would think that would be a mechanism of oversight to ensure that the proper kind of planning goes on within the land trust.
Mr Grandmaître: One last question, Mr Chair, a very short one: Let's say that the minister or the ministry or this province, this government, wants to put up a project that you people are against. What appeal mechanism will you have to appeal such a project? You can't go to the OMB. Where will you appeal?
Ms Miller: It's a good question, and I don't know. I presume that the current structure of the land trust board, with a majority of community members, would mean that there couldn't be something that was --
Mr Grandmaître: Reasonable.
Ms Miller: -- given birth to by the land trust that wasn't in some way accepted by the majority of the members of the trust.
Mr Grandmaître: Good luck.
The Chair: Mr Stockwell? Mr Turnbull? All right, Mrs Harrington.
Ms Margaret H. Harrington (Niagara Falls): You brought forward some very important ideas. The first one I noted was how important it is that the land trust work and that you feel an obligation to show that it can work and work well as the first model in this province. I'm very concerned about that as well because we do want to look at other options in this province and that's certainly one.
You bring forward the request for an amendment to elect your representatives. I would just like to put on record that I believe that's a very important question at this point in time and that I am concerned about it as well, because it's tied in with how the land trust will work and function well.
I have two questions for you. You're on the executive, and we also heard from Ian Brown. He will be one of your colleagues on the executive, I understand.
Ms Miller: Yes.
Ms Harrington: We're probably hearing from some more people on the executive as well. I feel that you have a sense of community right now. How do you look at the idea of having more people living on the island, further development of the island? Does the executive of your organization share a common opinion that this would be helpful to your community and enrich your community, or are there questions around that? Secondly, how do you envisage the community in 10 years, say, down the road?
Ms Miller: Well, 10 years down the road, I hope we would have a community that's much more reflective of the ethnic makeup of the city of Toronto, because we certainly don't now. I think that's because of the instability that has existed there for the last 20 years.
I personally am very excited about the growth of the community, and you might get a different answer from everyone you talk to in the community. This community is just a shadow of the former community that used to exist there. I'd love to see new energy there so I can retire.
Ms Harrington: Is that shared by most of the people?
Ms Miller: I would say yes. I think there is some fear of change and what change can bring, but I think that we are really just such a small remnant of the really vibrant community that was there previously. I'm looking forward to new ideas, new faces and new energies and I feel that most people in the community feel the same way.
Mr Marchese: Sarah, I want to make some comments on the whole issue of planning and why the minister lifted the planning on the islands and ask you for your reaction to that as well, because it was raised by a number of members about lifting planning and not allowing the city to have zoning power over the new development. As I understand it, the ministry is only lifting this planning for development of housing and not for hotels or anything else, for that matter, on vacant lands.
Ms Miller: That's right.
Mr Marchese: It was important clearly so that housing could proceed quickly; otherwise it would be a problem. We couldn't begin quickly.
Ms Miller: That's right, and all the repairs of the existing housing will have to comply with --
Mr Marchese: Existing zoning powers, right. The minister, as I've stated earlier, has the zoning power, which means that he would be able to veto anything that was deemed unreasonable or contrary to what was envisioned. I presume that the trust would be working very closely with the city planning department so that the trust plans in accordance with existing city zoning. Do you not envision that?
Ms Miller: We already are. In fact, they held a series of workshops last winter -- I think it was four or five workshops at our clubhouse -- to inform our community how they would handle the future renovations and growth in the community. We're working quite closely with our own local planner, Joe D'Bramo, and making every effort we can to comply.
Mr Marchese: I think that was interesting and important for the other members to hear as well, because it's not that the trust will be working on this on its own without any expertise or knowledge. Presumably the members of the trust would have the knowledge but obviously will be working closely, as you just mentioned, with the city people. So I don't see that as a problem.
Ms Swarbrick: Sarah, some members of the committee still have difficulty accepting that the values ascribed to the land leases are fair values rather than overly generous ones to the community. Could you describe why you think that the cost of the land lease should be seen as fair to the broader community and to the taxpayers?
Ms Miller: I think there is confusion between the value of the house and the value of the land. These lands are still remaining in the public domain, and it is our hope that they will be enhanced for public use from their current level now. We're not gaining. We're in fact giving up the equity we have in our homes in exchange for the right to remain in the community, and I think that the land lease we're paying is comparable to the land lease anyone else on that island is currently paying now. You should be asking the yacht clubs. They seem a little vague on the amounts of moneys they're paying for their leases.
We're putting in a tremendous amount of effort both to provide services to park users and to provide our own services. If you compare the value we get for our tax dollar to the value other city residents get for their tax dollar, you'll find that we are underserviced. Mr Perlin alluded to this. I think you need to balance those things. The fundamental principle of the land trust is that the value of the land is kept at a level that makes the use of it affordable.
Mr Mammoliti: While the yacht club was responding, I did some mathematics here. It works out to 15 cents a day, $28 a year for 250 members. So I think you're paying a little more than the yacht club members in terms of your lease.
Ms Swarbrick: Actually, Mr Chairman, I have one last quick question. Somebody the other day mentioned that the price Metro had charged to the residents for the rents was in fact about $150 to $200 per year, as of the last time Metro charged rents during --
Ms Miller: That was before I was actually on the island, so I don't know. But, yes, it was a fairly minimal amount. I guess that was at the time when the leases were due to expire and they'd begun expropriations as well.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms Miller, for appearing today.
FLYING TOAD CO-OPERATIVE HOMES INC
The Chair: Our next presentation is from Peter Dewdney, Flying Toad non-profit club. Good afternoon, sir. You've been allocated one half-hour for your presentation.
Mr Peter Dewdney: We're right on schedule. I don't know if we'll be using the whole half-hour.
The Chair: I run a tight ship.
Mr Dewdney: The name of the corporation, incidentally, is Flying Toad Co-operative Homes Inc, and I'll get to the origin of the name in a little while. My name is Peter Dewdney. I live on Ward's Island on the Toronto Islands. I've been there for, I guess, about 20 years. I'm the president of the founding board of Flying Toad Co-operative Homes, and of course I'm speaking in support of the legislation before you today.
Cooperative housing is a form of community, of management, a way for residents to control and be accountable for the management style, for how money gets spent and how members shall be involved in volunteer activities relating to that management. It is a way of creating a sense of ownership without having financial equity. It is a means of maintaining and ensuring that housing remains affordable.
Although co-ops, along with municipal non-profits, private non-profits and OHC housing are all lumped together under the description of "social housing," in fact the only commonality they have is that they are not-for-profit and that government money is used in their construction to subsidize some of the more needy members. As for the social problems often associated with social housing, you will rarely, if ever, read or hear criticism of co-ops in that regard.
The fact is that co-ops are excellent places for people to have an opportunity to develop skills and experience a level of self-esteem they could otherwise enjoy only as a home owner. It comes back to the success that the co-op model has enjoyed in creating a sense of ownership in its history in Ontario and throughout the country.
Flying Toad Co-operative Homes was recently incorporated and proposes to build up to 80 new units of housing within and adjacent to the existing island community. It proposes to accept membership as well from existing island residents who own homes but who wish to sell their homes into the co-op. Interest indicates that there could be as many as 30 such cases. I'll explain more about Flying Toad's plans, but first I'd like to tell you a little bit about the predecessor of Flying Toad, the Toronto Island Residents' Housing Co-operative.
In the early 1970s the island community became somewhat controversial in its determination to resist the efforts of the Metropolitan Toronto council to raze the houses to expand the island park. During those years of controversy, one of the most frequent criticism we were subjected to was that we would make a huge windfall profit by virtue of any extension of our lease that would give us continued possession of our houses and the potential for selling those houses into the marketplace. At one point, at a general meeting of community members, the community decided that it was interested in its houses as shelter -- I think the last speaker referred to this as well -- not as equity investments from which we could profit.
Further, it was recognized that any solution to the crisis that would afford islanders a sense of security would have the effect of displacing existing island tenants, as landlords would decide to return to the island or possibly sell their houses from under the tenants. The community repeatedly endorsed the principle that existing islanders should not be forced to leave for economic reasons or by virtue of being evicted by a landlord who would then come back to the island as a fair-weather friend to sell the house from under the tenant. We had of course balanced those landlords' very real interests as well.
Recognition of these island positions was partly the basis for Mr Swadron's recommendations that, ironically, made Bill 191, An Act to amend the Metropolitan Toronto Act, 1981, so difficult to realize. The difficulty was that Bill 191 not only recognized that islanders should not profit from their homes, but went one step further and had us paying rent to Metro for the houses we had bought and built. The court ruling that the lapse of the ground lease put the ownership of our homes into Metro's hands did nothing to quell the islanders' and the public's sense that such an outcome was unfair.
The islanders had already developed a non-profit method of buying and selling houses within the bylaws of the Toronto Island Residents' Housing Co-operative. This consisted of third-party control in which the seller would receive the depreciated replacement value of his or her house, representing precisely the value of what he or she had put into it. This represents a minimum amount of money, which the seller could then use, if he or she had to move elsewhere for economic reasons or for reasons of opportunity or to move closer to family, towards the down payment on a house elsewhere or to establish some security elsewhere and establish a new life.
This formula-based third-party model is the central mechanism by which a land trust will maintain privately held housing stock on a non-profit basis. You've probably heard about that already, and you may be hearing more. It is in this historical context that the recent incorporation of Flying Toad should be viewed. The only reason we incorporated it under a new name was to form a corporation whose bylaws would be consistent with the provincial government's programs governing co-ops. Up until our transition meeting, we had developed our current plans within the original board and membership. That original membership, by the way, stands probably at about 80 members currently. I think there are about 40 households that we're aware of that would be interested in coming into the co-op, and I think 40 would include single individuals who would come in on a sharing basis. So there would be a real mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units and a couple of fours as well.
The legislation that is before the committee establishes a land trust for the portion of the Toronto Islands in which the community is situated. Its proposed responsibilities, among other things, include the leasing of lands to individuals in the co-op. When it became clear that the present government was committed to enacting Richard Johnston's recommendations, islanders began to interview various non-profit housing development consulting groups to determine which would be the most appropriate for us to work with, and at the same time learn as much as possible about the provincial non-profit housing programs. Finally, we settled on Lantana Non-Profit Homes Corp as our development consultant.
As you may be aware, Lantana is a non-profit -- that's a bit redundant -- housing development consultant. They work with a community-based board from a project's inception until the year after the built housing has been tenanted. They act as a resource to assist in the selection of the architect, to facilitating the creation of a design that incorporates the architect's strengths, meets the community's needs and conforms with the Ministry of Housing's guidelines, help with the targeting plans, and indeed provide very strong and professional supports throughout the life of the development of the project. Above all, they keep an eye on the budget and make sure that the money comes in under MUP, the maximum unit price, which is the financial program that permits or governs how much can be spent on developing the housing.
Lantana has been at this for many years and has built an excellent reputation. They work with the community as well to determine its housing needs and work with the board of directors to formulate a targeting plan -- well, I didn't think it was in there, which is why I mentioned it a minute ago.
You may know that Mr Johnston had recommended and the legislation proposes that the co-op will be one of the vehicles by which island residents who are currently tenants may avoid being evicted from the community by returning home owners. There are a number of underhoused and aging islanders who are also interested in the co-op options.
The building of co-op units provides us with a splendid opportunity to increase the ethnocultural diversity within the island community. Over the years, the islands have remained basically white middle-class, not because anyone practised discrimination but because friendship circles tended to reproduce the same mix when houses changed hands. Also, for many people outside those circles, the idea of moving into a geographically isolating community and suffering the kind of political turmoil that it was experiencing may have been intimidating and a real factor in not making the community as accessible as it might otherwise have been.
Flying Toad will be making a special effort to reach out to identifiable communities in order to better reflect the ethnocultural diversity of Metropolitan Toronto when it opens up its membership list. We are targeting at least 50% of our units to non-islanders. Our targeting plans may fluctuate, depending on how many units we are actually able to develop. In any case, the Toronto island community will become more accessible to those who might not normally consider living there.
The insertion of new housing into the existing island community is probably unparalleled in its potential for impact. The addition of 80 homes into a community of 250 homes would represent an increase of close to 30% in the community's size. This increase would have implications for the island public school, the amount of seating space on the winter ferry, the Ongiara, the demands on community clubhouses and so on. The community is anxious about the scale of change that will take place within it, but at the same time I think a lot of us are really excited at the opportunities that these developments will afford us.
We should end up with, I think, a healthier, more vibrant community in which there should be sufficient numbers to take on the inevitable volunteer workload that the land trust will entail.
In order to integrate the co-op's housing plans into the needs of the wider community, a design committee was struck under the auspices of the stewardship committee. The co-op board and members participated as partners in this process. I believe that there were hundreds of hours of meetings and walkabouts that culminated in the production of what we call the "blobby site plan" for the co-op. The blobby site plan is one that describes the areas in which we and the community feel comfortable with locating housing, but the actual footprints of that housing have not yet been defined. With some principles about the considerations as to where such housing could be placed in relation to the community, what aesthetic standards would apply to the built form, taking note of places within the community that seemed to work very well as they were and other places that didn't seem to work very well and might be more appropriate to build on and reform in some ways, having also very strong regard for environmental concerns, because there are a number of sensitive areas on the islands.
One of the first tasks of this committee was to organize a presentation to the community by a short list of architects. Flying Toad took into consideration the community's evaluations of the architects' presentations in choosing the architects who would work on the project. I think the architects were Simon and associates, Hough and associates and Black and Moffat. We ended up choosing a conglomerate of three firms because they all had different skills which they could contribute. They're all under the coordination of one firm, Simon and associates, and it seems to be working fairly well.
As the architects began to proceed with their work, a concern was raised by the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority with respect to possible flood and wave upsurge damage in the area of the co-op's primary site on Lakeshore Avenue. I have trouble saying the words "wave upsurge" without giggling, but there are, and I recognize that there are, serious concerns and we should never dismiss the dangers that water and storms can produce. But we're talking about an area just adjacent on the south side and west of the existing community, where very gracious and charming housing was standing until the 1950s and 1960s, when it was demolished. It's hard for us in the community to fathom why there should be concerns now when there was never any difficulty experienced by those people when the breakwater was built at a lower level than it currently exists.
The community felt very comfortable with this housing site, as its impact on the community and on the environment would be less than many of the other sites. The province has undertaken to study the issue to assess if in fact the risks are real and what, if any, remedial work would have to be done to make this area suitable for housing. I think the island as well is participating in that study, or pays for that study.
However, what we have had to proceed with is our preliminary site plan work considering only other areas within the community for development at this stage. So what we've identified as the primary area for co-op housing we have had to set aside and the blobby site plan I referred to a few minutes ago is totally within the existing community in what we would have called our secondary site locations.
One of the concerns that many community members expressed has been that the whole development should not proceed at the same time but should be phased. I guess the setback with respect to the studies around the wave surge may in fact produce that effect. We may phase in the housing in a couple of development sprints.
As a result of our planning exercises we have identified sites within the community that would accommodate in the neighbourhood of 50 to 75 units of co-op and land trust housing. The co-op is very anxious that the other lands become freed up so that we might meet all of our targeting goals. That is to say, if we developed 70 units between us and the land trust and we were only to get 30 or 35 of those units, then we might not be very viable in meeting some of our targeting goals and meeting the existing needs of community residents for whom Richard Johnston felt that this was an option, and also for our city-side friends. So the co-op doesn't really feel very comfortable with those as total housing numbers, and I guess we're very anxious that the other lands become available to us and enter the land trust so that we can develop something that's going to serve a little better.
The members of the Flying Toad housing cooperative feel that the Toronto Islands stewardship act is critical to the successful development of cooperative housing in the island community. It is no exaggeration to say that there is a great deal of interest in this proposed legislation among housing and community experts here, in the United States and abroad. I think the co-op members of the present do, and those in the future will, feel part of something quite historic as a carefully thought-out model of how a community can take more responsibility for its own administration and that of the land it sits on is realized.
I believe the co-op has a critical role to play in the creation of a more open and vital island community. I think that role is worthy of your support and I would urge committee members to support this legislation. Thank you for your time.
The Acting Chair (Mr Ron Eddy): Thank you for your presentation. Time for questions.
Mr Turnbull: Let me just ask you about this question of the floodplain. You're talking about wave surges. Clearly, the reason planning has evolved in the last few years, particularly since Hurricane Hazel, around the concern of building on floodplain is the demolition of houses by floods and the risk to life and limb. As well as that, there is usually a hue and cry from the people who are affected by these for some sort of compensation out of the public purse. Could you comment on that?
Mr Dewdney: I don't want to diminish the motives for which the concerns have been raised and I do take them seriously. There's an interesting photograph in the possession of the Ministry of Natural Resources of a wave crashing over the breakwater in the middle of Hurricane Hazel. It's quite a dramatic picture. That was an onshore, full-scale wind at that time. The breakwater was lower at the time than it is now. It's been raised since then. But even that event didn't seem to damage anything or threaten life or limb.
Mr Turnbull: I don't want to suggest this is my principal concern. I think the economics of it are the concern that I have. I would ask you, in view of the fact that you're getting such a sweetheart deal -- there's no doubt about it, this legislation is going to go through; the government has indicated it's going to go through and its got the numbers -- would you be prepared to suggest to all of the island community that it would be reasonable for them to sign an agreement in perpetuity that they would never ask for compensation from any government authority if there were any flood damage?
Mr Dewdney: That's interesting. That's a proposition that I've raised myself. I believe the government and the ministries are not interested in that sort of agreement because it may not free anybody from liability in the end. But it's an interesting question.
Mr Turnbull: But you would agree it would be reasonable to protect the public purse in that way?
Mr Dewdney: I don't know. Like all legal documents, lawyers would make lots of money from it. Where do you draw the line? You have to anticipate all the other things you may be freeing yourself from unreasonably. So I would say in principle: perhaps.
Mr Stockwell: Even in the end, the government could just change the legislation and pay them out anyway.
A quick question: Have you ever built a non-profit or cooperative housing building without an official plan or under the Planning Act or with zoning regulations in place?
Mr Dewdney: I'm not a co-op builder. I have been involved in the building of a shelter out in Scarborough. I'm the president of an existing co-op. I would say there probably hasn't been such an experience, because this is a very unique situation.
Mr Stockwell: That's right, it is unique. That is why I have this question. I can foresee a ton of problems if you're not subject to at least the Planning Act. Do you?
Mr Dewdney: I don't know. You hire architects or professionals. They operate under the Planning Act everywhere else. I wouldn't anticipate that between our development consultant, the architect and what we could use from the existing Planning Act as a guide, we would have a ton of problems necessarily. I don't necessarily agree with you.
Mr Stockwell: Last, if the residents have a disagreement and wants to take it someplace like the Ontario Municipal Board, where do you take it? Where would you appeal to?
Mr Dewdney: Somebody within the community who has been denied --
Mr Stockwell: Anybody. If Joe Blow decides he thinks this is unreasonable, it's unworkable, it's too dense, it's too high, all the bazillion things you can get, where do you take him? The pumpkin in the sky? I don't know where you appeal this to.
Mr Mammoliti: Mulroney.
Mr Stockwell: Mulroney, from my friend George; Mulroney or George.
Mr Dewdney: I think that's something worth looking at. I don't think there's anything that is currently contemplated that would do that.
Mr Stockwell: I could see a complaint though.
Mr Dewdney: I can see a complaint too.
Mr Stockwell: I could see an islander coming in and saying, "Gee, this is too high," or, "That's an ugly brick," or, "The door doesn't open the right way."
Mr Dewdney: With respect, the land trust would have the powers to create its own bylaws with respect to height limits and density requirements.
Mr Stockwell: I know, but whom do you appeal it to?
Mr Dewdney: The community, as members of that board, would be fully participant in the development of those bylaws.
Mr Stockwell: Say you've got one bad actor who says, "Gee, this is terrible."
Mr Dewdney: Okay, so you've got one bad actor. As it is, we could squash the actor, but we don't want to do that and the community would never buy that.
Mr Stockwell: You wouldn't do that, I know.
The Acting Chair: Thank you. Mr Marchese, please.
Mr Stockwell: Darn. We were so close there to the answer. We'd identified the bad actor.
Mr Marchese: Peter, on the issue of flooding, when was the last flood we had on the islands?
Mr Dewdney: I think in 1973 and 1974. We had high water in both those years. I think what we had was some puddling here and there, because the water table was up over some of the lower parts of the island. In fact, I remember walking out on the sidewalk one March day and seeing ducks mating in one of these puddles in the middle of the sidewalk.
Mr Marchese: Charming. Peter, did that damage the homes at that time?
Mr Dewdney: No. There were concerns raised by the city of Toronto health department with respect to the toilet holding tanks.
Mr Marchese: Any previous flooding to that in 1973? Prior to that, was there another flood?
Mr Dewdney: I think Hurricane Hazel. In fact, as the water came over the breakwall, somewhere between the fire department and the ferry docks there was the flow of some water right into the lagoon. I'm talking about something like that. I wasn't there for that but I've heard about it.
Mr Marchese: I think I heard you clearly that you don't disagree with the conservation authority working with the islanders and other players in looking at the existing seawall to see whether repairs need to be made and to what extent there might be problems. Do you accept that?
Mr Dewdney: I would be more concerned about the breakwall on the northeast part of the islands that faces city-side. There is deterioration in that wall. I'm not an expert on breakwalls, but I don't think there's any significant deterioration on the other breakwall. We are more protected on that side now by the land spit than we were before. I think we'd be willing to work with other partners on this, but we're a little wary that we not get caught up in a megaproject spirit. We don't want to contribute to a sense that this is where we're going to build big things, employ thousands of people and spend a lot of taxpayers' money, because we're not interested in that.
Mr Marchese: The point of liability is one of the reasons why the ministries are concerned about doing the study. That's part of the point that Mr Turnbull raised. But on the issue of zoning, it's the minister who has the zoning power.
Mr Stockwell: No, you're wrong.
Mr Marchese: Yes, he does. The minister has the zoning power.
Mr Stockwell: Under this bill?
Mr Marchese: Under this bill.
Mr Stockwell: Sorry.
Mr Marchese: So zoning is subject to the ministry. As I said earlier, they would be working with the city, as I understand it, so the two are going hand in hand. I'm assuming the trust is a democratic body that will be appointed to carry out the stewardship of this and it would act as the OMB. No, it doesn't act as such, but one assumes that through that process, people will agree or disagree and in the end, in spite of it, you'll have people disagreeing.
Mr Dewdney: Perhaps to some degree, yes, like council. I'm the general manager of a co-op in the Don-St Lawrence neighbourhood. It's interesting looking at the co-op model, because they develop policies out of their bylaws and procedures. If somebody is unhappy with a decision that staff have made, he can appeal to the board of directors. That may be the appropriate appeal forum.
Ms Harrington: Would you tell us why you're called the Flying Toad instead of the Mating Duck?
Mr Dewdney: I never did get to it, did I?
Mr Dewdney: Chris will be interested in this answer too, because it was during the time when we were --
Mr Stockwell: Metro's at the bottom of this, I know.
Mr Dewdney: I think so.
Interjection: While Chris was there.
Mr Dewdney: Well, almost.
Mr Stockwell: It's probably my fault.
Mr Dewdney: No. In those heady days when we were in real political crisis, we had a block captain system, people to help disseminate information in the community, organize the community. We had this system of block captains and the block captains were called the Flying Toads. That's where the name came from. We hope it's not too provocative.
Ms Harrington: This was in a political campaign?
Mr Dewdney: It was during the days leading up to when there was talk about the sheriff coming.
Mr Stockwell: That was 20 years ago.
Mr Marchese: It was when the Tories were in.
Mr Stockwell: Yes, those bad Tories under Bill Davis.
Mr Marchese: It was 43 long years.
The Acting Chair: Thank you. Mr Grandmaître, do you have a question?
Mr Grandmaître: I think most of the questions were asked but I'd like to --
The Acting Chair: Order, please.
Mr Grandmaître: I'm still very concerned, even listening to Mr Marchese's explanation of the Planning Act and the floodplain. That floodplain has been in existence for the last 100 years. If nobody is worried about this, if nobody is worried about the floodplain, how come the conservation people didn't strike it out from the official plan?
Mr Dewdney: I don't know. They must be worried about it.
Mr Grandmaître: Absolutely. So it's not only us. Somebody else is worried about the floodplain development.
Mr Marchese: They're studying it.
Mr Grandmaître: I think, going back to what the pope just said, "Who will you be appealing to if you don't agree with the development and you don't have a planning act to rely on?" It's going to be very difficult for you. With all the goodwill of your friends on the islands, if one objects --
Mr Dewdney: You're looking at the politics of government, I guess, to some degree --
Mr Grandmaître: That's right.
Mr Dewdney: I think you're talking about devolving certain powers to a local level where we're going to have to take on the same kinds of responsibilities that upper levels of government have.
Mr Grandmaître: As a planning board.
Mr Dewdney: To some degree, as an agent of the minister's powers, I guess, in this case, because I think the minister would have the last word in any affair that he felt was viewed as very serious.
Mr Grandmaître: They need more than a land trust. They need a planning board with power under the Planning Act. But anyway, this is about the 10th time I've asked about the Planning Act, so I quit.
I want to go on record on this: The parliamentary assistant has just whispered to me, "Well then, Ben, they can appeal to the cabinet." My answer is no, you cannot appeal to the cabinet, not under the new rules of the OMB since it's been --
Mr Stockwell: You can't appeal to cabinet --
Mr Grandmaître: Yes, it's been transferred --
Mr Stockwell: -- unless the OMB hears it anyway.
Mr Grandmaître: Yes, you can't appeal it. Now it's under the wing of the Minister of Municipal Affairs. The minister who's responsible for this bill is saying: "No, don't appeal to me because I'm the boss. I'm introducing this legislation." He's not going to write himself a letter. Well, who knows? He might.
Mr Eddy: I'd like to follow up and ask the question, do you think there should be an appeal body and who would you recommend?
Mr Grandmaître: That's a great question.
Mr Dewdney: The answer occurred to me in the middle of this discussion. The co-op model in fact, I think, works very well. I think processes could be built into the land trust governance that could ensure that there was a fair hearing, that there could be in the end representation by counsel. I don't know. It's wide open. I don't see any reason why the community could not handle that administrative function.
I think it's quite legitimate that if somebody felt his interest was so threatened, he would appeal to the minister himself or herself, but I don't think the minister necessarily would want to be in that position, so I would leave it at the local level.
Mr Stockwell: You're going to end up in court for 10 years.
Mr Dewdney: We've been in court for 10 years before.
The Chair: Thank you, sir, for appearing today.
The Chair: Our next presentation is from Fred Gaysek. Good afternoon. You've been allocated 15 minutes for your presentation, sir.
Mr Fred Gaysek: I'm sure that should be ample time. I've provided the copies and I'm going to read a short-form version of what you have before you.
My name is Fred Gaysek. I have been living on the island for 11 years and I'm a member of the TIRA executive. I'll read some comments on the general community background to this legislation and the community process, and then I will outline a few concerns that we still have regarding the legislation.
The Toronto Islands residential community has existed in a state of political uncertainty for almost 40 years. Today, as a result of Richard Johnston's inspired report, the determined work of this provincial government and the thousands of hours committed to this legislation by island residents, all of us, including the city of Toronto and Metropolitan Toronto, are on the verge of a fair and visionary solution to the political, social and financial issues that have stood in the way of preserving the island community.
The Toronto Islands Residents Association, TIRA, has endorsed Richard Johnston's report and solidly supports Bill 61. This legislation will implement the proposals made by Richard Johnston and will achieve a fair solution to the island issue, a solution that has broad support throughout Toronto, a solution that not only protects a particular community but protects the public interest at large.
In 1981, changes to the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto Act were made by the provincial government which prevented the demolition of island homes by the Metro government. However, there were problems with that 1981 amendment, Bill 191. Those problems allowed Metro to thwart the original intention of the legislation, which was to protect and stabilize the island community.
Apart from the serious social and financial costs borne by the members of the island community as a result of Metro's actions, the unresolved situation meant that islanders could not obtain mortgage loans to fix their houses as was required of them by Bill 191. We were denied building permits by the Metropolitan government and so were further hampered in our efforts to rehabilitate our degenerating housing stock. The Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act, Bill 61, returns ownership of the homes to those entitled and creates a community-based land trust that will provide a stockpile of affordable housing well into the future.
Survival of the island community has been a provincial matter since the Conservative government passed Bill 191 in 1981. This government is putting into effect promises made by the Liberals in 1985 and supported by all three parties. It is acting in a fiscally responsible way to resolve this issue. Bill 61 ensures the renewal, rehabilitation and preservation of one of the city's oldest neighbourhoods at no cost to the public and provides a unique land use concept that maintains an affordable and self-sustaining community.
Bill 61 protects the public interest and does not burden taxpayers. The lease amount that islanders will pay is for ground rent only. As in the case of any other home owner, islanders will be responsible for all costs of home ownership. Unlike the case of any other home owner, islanders will not be able to profit from the sale of their homes, nor will they be able to choose the buyer of their homes.
The existing community will produce enough revenue through the individual lease purchases to allow it to be financially self-sustaining. Islanders will lease land under the umbrella of a land trust that is set up for the purpose of affordable housing and those lands will remain in the public trust.
Metro paid only $1 for all of the Toronto Islands lands, and it is common practice for governments to make public land available for non-profit housing for a nominal fee. In this case, there is virtually no cost to the taxpayer. As stated in a report by city staff, a community operating under a land trust umbrella is less of a social and municipal burden than public housing. In fact, unlike other Metro communities, islanders have agreed to pay 50% of the capital cost of the community's sewer installation.
The Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act will result in no economic eviction for members of one of Toronto's most extraordinary and healthy communities. It will provide accessible housing through the use of waiting lists maintained by both the land trust and the co-op. The instrument of a land trust to hold the island land offers the province a new method to add to the provincial co-op housing program. It provides affordable housing by removing the prohibitive market costs of lands by keeping those lands in trust and it encourages healthy communities by fostering a high level of community involvement in the planning, stewardship and control of community development.
The Toronto Islands residential community is well placed to be the first demonstration of the land trust model because it already has a high level of community involvement. Islanders have independently developed informal stewardship arrangements for the care of their environment, community members' needs, education, recreation and other values. As well, they have undertaken a variety of waste reduction initiatives.
The island community is willing to take on a greater stewardship role and its members are prepared to embrace collective responsibilities and give up some of the traditional individual rights that members of other communities hold. The Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act is a fair solution that moves towards realizing an increasingly accepted vision of what makes a good community.
Bill 61 preserves a community in which 70% of households had a 1991 annual income lower than $50,000. In 1991, 24% of the households were seniors on fixed incomes and 16% were single-parent families. In 1991, 51% of community members had lived on the island for more than 20 years. As in the past, anyone can live on the island within the context of a finite number of available homes. The land trust board will establish and maintain open lists of applicants whose placement on the lists will be determined by publicly acceptable criteria.
The Toronto Island Residents Association, which is comprised of all members of the residential communities on Ward's and Algonquin islands, annually elects an executive. This executive carries out the business of the association by following a set of community principles, and you do have a list of some relevant principles there on that sheet. Executive decisions and actions made on behalf of the association must be in accordance with these principles. All major decisions or actions, and certainly any decisions or actions that stray from these principles, are brought back to the community for discussion and approval.
During the past two years, the TIRA executive has engaged community members in processes designed to achieve an articulate vision for the future. This formed the basis for various kinds of community planning sessions. Issue work groups were set up to study specific aspects of Bill 61 and the regulations, such as house appraisals, land leases, land trust lists, protected occupancy, stewardship and so on.
These groups and the executive have distributed a great deal of printed information for community discussion. Block meetings and information meetings were held. More work than ever before was carried out by the members of the Toronto Island Residents Association. A massive effort was made, tens of thousands of dollars of TIRA money, raised by house levies, were spent and much good work was accomplished.
As stated, TIRA strongly supports the basic principles of Bill 61 and commends everyone who has worked long and hard on this legislation. There are, however, a few remaining problems with the legislation and regulations. The written and oral presentations by other islanders, other members of the TIRA executive, by Chris Wilson of Lantana Non-profit Homes and by Bruce Lewis of the firm Lewis and Collyer, the lawyers representing islanders in this process of establishing a community-based land trust, have outlined the key issues that remain outstanding. What follow are three items that TIRA would like to underline at this time.
(1) Corporate structure of the trust: Bill 61 simply states that the board of directors is to be constituted as provided by regulation. The draft regulation provides that the board of the trust shall have a maximum of 15 members, of which a two-thirds majority shall be residents of the Toronto Islands residential community. TIRA feels that the requirement and procedure for appointment of island representatives to the land trust board should be fixed in the legislation.
Given the political history of our community during the last 40 years, we feel that the legislation should provide the community with some protection against the risk of adverse appointments to the land trust board which, under the current wording of the legislation, are at the discretion of the government of the day. We would like to remind the committee that during the second reading of Bill 61, several of us in the legislative members' gallery clearly heard opposition threats to undo Bill 61 once their party formed the government.
However, of greater significance to establishing a viable and positive model for operating a community-based land trust is that the land trust board should be accountable to the community as a whole. A 15-member board that provides a majority to islanders can be constituted to protect both the interests of the specific community that will be affected by its decisions and the interests of the broader public.
The very nature of the island community carrying out its fiscal and corporate responsibilities through its own self-governing body would be quite different from what would develop with the land trust under Bill 61 as it is currently worded. TIRA requests that this committee give serious consideration to the proposed amendments to section 12 of Bill 61 as put forward by Bruce Lewis and attached to this document as an appendix.
(2) Qualification age for senior's discount: Subsection 17(4) of Bill 61 sets 65 as the qualifying age for seniors applying for the discount. TIRA recommends that the age be changed to 60 so that younger seniors who are in financial need are not excluded. Such a change would be more consistent with provincial government practice in analogous situations. The Ministry of Housing uses the minimum age of 60 in its definition of "senior" for qualification for seniors' housing and rent-geared-to-income assistance. It is our understanding that this definition is followed by all local housing authorities and most other non-profit housing providers. This proposed change would harmonize the practice in relation to the land trust with the practice that the island co-op will be required to follow.
(3) Inflation-neutral appraisal and resale formulae: TIRA has made detailed submissions to both provincial financial staff and political staff regarding the house value, land lease and resale formulae set out in the regulations. These staff members have recognized our position and have made certain changes to these regulations. However, a few more changes are required to ensure that islanders are not disadvantaged or do not benefit through the effects of inflation.
In conclusion, the Toronto Island Residents Association takes this opportunity to thank the members of this committee for their thoughtful work. Bill 61 is an inspired act that provides a fair and visionary solution to the island issue, a solution that not only preserves our community but protects the public interest. Bill 61 creates a community-based land trust that will provide a stockpile of affordable housing for future generations. The Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act is a proactive solution that is fair to all and provides the legislative groundwork for realizing a marvellous model of a vital, viable and economically self-sustaining community.
The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. Unfortunately, the time for questions does not exist, but thank you for coming.
The Chair: No. We're out of time.
Mr Gaysek: Thanks a lot.
The Chair: Our next presentation is scheduled to be from Leslie Yager. Ms Yager, good afternoon. You have been allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You may begin.
Ms Leslie Yager: I will introduce myself. My name is Leslie Yager and I've come to support the bill that you're considering. I'll tell you a little bit about myself. I'm probably one of the few Liberals who is appearing before you to support this bill, but I am a Liberal.
I did live on Toronto Island about 15 years ago, but now I live in North Toronto and I have no financial interest in the island. I have some friends there, but I don't own any properties and I don't wish to live there again. So I hope you'll take my comments as somewhat of a neutral person coming from the north part of the city.
I am an active member of the Liberal Party of Ontario. I worked for Ian Scott for five years at his community office and I recently ran unsuccessfully to be nominated to run for the Liberals in the upcoming by-election in St George-St David. So that gives you a bit of my background and my prejudices.
Ms Swarbrick: And hopefully your ability to persuade your colleagues over there to be objective.
Ms Yager: I have been trying to persuade them.
I just have a few comments to make, and here they go. I'm not a property appraiser so I can't speak as to whether the value of these land leases is fair value, reasonable or whatever. I know it's a concern for my Liberal colleagues that it might be too low and they don't want any sort of sweetheart deal or a windfall being given to Toronto Islanders. But I would like to make the following points and ask the committee to keep them in mind when considering the question of the value assigned to those leases. I should also tell you that I'm a real estate lawyer, so I know something about real estate and property and things like that.
First of all, the proposed legislation restricts the rights of the islanders to transfer both their houses and the land leases. The ability to make a profit on that transfer is also restricted, which will have a great impact on the market value of the lease.
Secondly, I want to remind you that you're only talking about land leases. I know that not all members of the committee have even been to the island; these lots are very small. The lots on Ward's are only 45 by 50 and the lots on Algonquin 45 by 95 feet, so they're small properties with a restricted right of ability to transfer.
Mr Mammoliti: You wouldn't be able to put a yacht on there.
Ms Yager: No.
The Chair: You're out of order, Mr Mammoliti.
Ms Yager: Thirdly, access to the properties is limited. There's no vehicular access so everything has to be carried: all your groceries, all your supplies, all your building materials, all your laundry if you don't have a washing machine etc. There are no cars allowed on the island except by special permit. So this also, in my opinion, greatly reduces the value of the land lease and should be taken into account when you're talking about the question of value.
Five years ago, when I worked in Ian Scott's office, there was a waiting list for affordable housing of about 17,000 people, and I understand now that list is about 25,000 people. I'm currently a director of Nellie's Hostel for Women, and I can tell you the need for affordable housing continues to be very high, especially for women and children. We've had such an increase at Nellie's over the past 10 years that we had to put in a play room and a day care centre. So despite the fact that the vacancy rate in Toronto has gone up a bit, the need for affordable housing is still very great.
As I see the bill, it provides a mechanism whereby 250 existing homes can be saved and upgraded and brought to current standards, plus it allows for the creation of new non-profit housing to occur. From my point of view, even if I had never lived on the island I'd be encouraging you to go ahead and pass this bill for that reason alone, because it gives you a great opportunity to acquire and to build non-profit housing without having to buy the land. So it's going to be very reasonable to proceed with the development portion of the bill.
I know that everyone here is worried about money; we all are. There have been some comments to me like, "Can we afford to do this?" But in looking over the bill, I don't see that it really costs very much money. In fact, it seems to be a moneymaker because the province is going to get $1,000 per household when the initial transfers occur. There are 250 households, so that's $250,000 falling into your lap with relatively low costs involved.
Lastly, because I hope that you will see me as somewhat neutral, I'd like to talk about some of the common misperceptions people have about Toronto Islanders. The first one that's been mentioned to me over the past couple of days is that these people are a bunch of lawless squatters. This is not true. You've probably been told this, but I'm going to tell you again: These people initially came to the island with the approval and authority of the municipal governments that were running the island at the time, when housing first started there. In fact, on Algonquin Island, almost all the houses were built by veterans with grants from Veterans Affairs and with the encouragement of the Department of Veterans Affairs. I'm also advised that the Swadron commission actually looked at this question of squatters from a legal point of view and ruled that in fact the islanders aren't squatters and don't have any squatters' rights whatsoever. So, they're not squatters.
The second common misunderstanding is that everyone on the island is rich, or that there are lots of rich people there who are going to get a big, juicy bonus out of this. I think if you look at Richard Johnston's survey of income, you'll see that in fact the island community is actually a bit below the Metro average in income. These surveys have been consistent, even from the time I lived on the island. It has always been about that mix; in fact it seems it's slipping a bit in terms of income level.
I can tell you from working in a downtown riding office that mixed-income communities work much more successfully than communities that are not mixed. You can just compare any project run by Cityhome to something like Regent Park; in terms of the way the properties look, the crime rate and the way people feel about them, it's much better to have a mixed-income level. That should be encouraged, and it is encouraged in co-op housing.
Another misconception that's out there floating around is that once this legislation goes through, islanders are going to cash out and make lots of money, which isn't true. The legislation controls this very strictly. The seller and the purchaser can't even meet; the seller has to either sell to family members or directly to the trust. So as an old real estate lawyer, I can't figure out any way anyone can make money out of this. It's clearly a right to remain in the homes that you have, and not a right to make a profit and walk away from a situation.
Another misconception people have about islanders is that they don't pay their way: They don't pay their taxes and they don't pay their land rent. I don't know if they pay their taxes or not; I don't work for the tax department. I think some of them do and some of them don't. But I can tell you that for years and years Metro Toronto would not accept land rents. So even if they wished to pay -- you're shaking your head, but that's how it was.
Mr Stockwell: They were not paying us; they were paying the city of Toronto.
Ms Yager: Well, when they were paying you, you guys wouldn't take it. The final misconception is that somehow the islanders don't want other people to use the island; they want to hog it for themselves, which isn't true at all. I think the declining attendance has more to do with the way Metro parks runs the island. For example, in the winter there are no public washrooms open on those lands, so it's not a very pleasant experience for anyone to go over there as a casual visitor. There are no snack bars. There's no cafeteria. It's pretty tough. I don't think that has anything to do with the islanders. They don't run the rest of the island; they only look after their own properties.
That's what I have to say. I support the bill. I hope everyone will give it a fair review regardless of the politics of the people who live on the island and I hope you will pass it. That's all I have to say.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We have questions.
Ms Yager: Oh, oh, questions. Oh, no.
Mr Grandmaître: I'm going to use your own words: "as an old real estate lawyer."
Ms Yager: Oh, oh. I'd better get the bill out now.
Mr Grandmaître: No, not exactly.
The Chair: You have only two minutes.
Mr Grandmaître: Two minutes? As a former real estate lawyer; how's that?
Ms Yager: Okay.
Mr Grandmaître: A much better choice of words. Do you think the islands should be exempt from the Planning Act? Have you ever worked in your life as a lawyer on a project where that project was exempt from the Planning Act?
Ms Yager: Isn't it designated G, the other part?
Mr Grandmaître: No.
Ms Yager: Oh. No, I don't think they should be exempt from the Planning Act.
Mr Stockwell: Good answer. I listened very carefully to your deputation and I fundamentally disagree with some of the things you had to say. I also say that I think you're incorrect, although I don't think you intentionally were incorrect, in some of the comments you made. But there's one specific point I'd like to address, and that is the value. Being a real estate lawyer, you know full well that the only real true test to determine value is when somebody asks what a willing buyer will pay. I would submit to you that if you put these on the open market on a 99-year lease basis -- and you talk about postage stamps lots; true enough, but they've got the biggest backyard in Canada -- if you put these out as a public tender to find out what they would fetch, don't you believe they would fetch significantly more than $36,000 and $46,000 for 99 years?
Ms Yager: The reason it's hard to answer that question is that those figures only relate to the land, okay? I don't know about the land. It works out to about $20 a square foot for Ward's when you figure it out. There are transactions, we all know this and we know some of the figures, but they also involve the transfer of the house.
Mr Stockwell: There are lots with just land involved, demolitions. I've checked quite a bit and I find that even with demolitions, where they're tearing the house down and it's costing them money, they're selling for significantly more.
Ms Yager: But you're also getting a complete freehold title that you can turn around and transfer. You have to factor in the fact --
Mr Stockwell: Which is fair comment. Then the question must be asked, if we're really going to determine value, is, should we not at least go out and find what the market is willing to bear? If we're really going to call this a fair deal for the islanders, the taxpayers, Metro, the city and Queen's Park, isn't it reasonable to suggest as a taxpayer in Etobicoke, North York, North Toronto, please go out and find out what the fair market value is for a home on the island for 99 years? Is that too much to ask?
Ms Yager: I'll make two comments in reply to that. I think it's hard to figure out what the fair market value is because it's hard to think of a comparison, and appraisers always go on comparable properties.
Mr Stockwell: You've got vacant lots.
Ms Yager: But a vacant house with a right never to sell it, transfer it to make money on it?
Mr Stockwell: Yes, go offer that.
Ms Yager: Where would you find that?
Mr Stockwell: Well, go offer it. I'm willing to find out. I'll tell you it's going to be a hell of a lot more than $36,000.
Ms Yager: Okay, the second point, which I think is more important, is that you've got to look at the objective of the legislation. I don't think the objective is to make money for Metro, the city or the province. The objective is to preserve a community in a balanced way that can satisfy the three principal actors, the city, Metro and the islanders. I understand Metro is fairly happy with this.
Mr Stockwell: Well, not the ones I talked to.
Mr Stockwell: Well, who are you talking to?
Ms Yager: The city wants more money and the islanders say yes, so you've got two out of three almost saying yes.
Mr Stockwell: If you're going to go ahead and do it that way, then all I suggest is then call it what it is, a sweetheart deal, if you're not prepared to go out and find what the value is.
The Chair: Order.
Ms Yager: Thank you.
The Chair: No, you're still here.
Ms Yager: Oh, I thought we had only two minutes.
The Chair: Two minutes for each party, and that's your trick, Ms Swarbrick, Mr Marchese and Mrs Harrington.
Ms Swarbrick: I'll try to be very quick. Leslie, I think your presentation was terrific and I think it was especially helpful given that your party hasn't been taking those positions. So I hope you'll keep working on them.
Actually, I was very pleased to hear your comment about mixed community. I was going to ask that; I'm glad you answered it. My question to you is with regard to your quick answer about the issue of the Planning Act. I just wanted to ask you, had you really thought through or been involved in knowing why it is that we exempted it from the plan?
Ms Yager: No, I don't know anything about it.
Ms Swarbrick: The main rationale being trying to avoid the same kind of drawn-out problems that have been examined over the last number of years being re-examined all over again and allowing the ability to get on with it while knowing there's a built-in protection in terms of the constitution of the land trust board and the fact that the minister does have full zoning control and the ministry to look at all those issues. I'm wondering whether that might change your position somewhat, knowing the kind of rationale for the exception.
Ms Yager: I didn't give an informed answer. I believe in planning controls and community participation, the way a community looks, which is why I said yes. That's the basic concept behind the Planning Act, community guidelines, set by whatever, usually by your city, your municipality. They usually relate to things like how tall it is, how wide it is, whatever.
Ms Swarbrick: So it's your sense that the controls we have built in may in fact constitute sufficient controls.
Ms Yager: But I haven't looked into this. It's an uninformed answer.
Mr Stockwell: But it's a good one.
The Chair: Thank you, Ms Yager, for appearing before us today.
TORONTO ISLAND SCHOOL PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION
The Chair: The final presentation for this afternoon is from the Toronto Island School Parent-Teacher Association: Charlotte Wheeler, John Campey, Pam Mazza.
The Chair: A little order.
Mrs Pam Mazza: John Campey, the school trustee for our ward, is supposed to be here. I suspect he'll show up in a moment, so we'll start.
The Chair: If you would like to introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, you may begin.
Mrs Charlotte Wheeler: I'm Charlotte Wheeler. I'm a city parent with two children on the island.
Mrs Mazza: I'm Pam Mazza. I've lived on the island for 20 years and I'm a member of the island PTA and SOS (Save Our School) Coalition.
The Chair: And here's John Campey. I neglected to inform you, you have one half-hour for your presentation.
Mr John Campey: I'm John Campey, the trustee for the Downtown ward in the Toronto Board of Education. I'm somewhat out of breath because I was just guest of honour at a birthday celebration. I was surprised with a cake.
Ms Swarbrick: Happy birthday.
Mr Turnbull: Does this get into Hansard?
Mr Campey: Anne is the younger one.
Thank you very much for providing us with the opportunity to be here today. I've got copies of my presentation coming over in about three minutes, so I'll be able to distribute them.
For over 100 years the Toronto Island school has provided educational opportunities for Toronto residents. Initially a regular day school for island residents, the mandate of the school has shifted over the past 30 years to reflect changes in both the population of the Toronto Islands and the demands placed on our education system.
Today, the Island Public/Natural Science school provides a regular day school program to 170 students, divided roughly equally between island residents and residents from the waterfront community. In addition, the school offers a week-long residential natural science program for every grade 5 and grade 6 student attending Toronto public schools.
In the 30 years since this program was initiated, over 82,000 students have had the opportunity to spend a week living on the island and taking part in a wide range of natural-science-related activities. Many of our students remember this as one of the highlights of their public school career. This innovative program has been copied by many other boards of education. For example, every other board in Toronto now has a natural science school which provides a residential experience for their students.
The island school remains unique, however, in two aspects. The first of these is its location. The island school is able to offer a wilderness experience in the very shadow of the office towers of downtown Toronto. The convenience of this location offers a significant degree of comfort to parents who, many for the first time, are having their children go away on their own.
The second is the unique combination of regular day school and the natural science school. This combination allows children from all across Toronto to see wilderness not just as a curiosity or something which is somehow divorced from their everyday lives, but as something that is integrated into a real community that is part of the everyday lives of other children.
The other important aspect of the combination of day school and natural science school is the fact that, unlike other natural science schools, the island school has an active and supportive parent and community organization which provides invaluable support for both programs. Students from across Toronto have benefited from the active involvement of the island school parent organization in the operation of the school.
Since my election as a trustee just over a year ago, I've been overwhelmed by the phenomenal support which the island school parent-teacher association has provided for the school. It is one of the most active parent organizations in the ward I represent and, through events such as its annual dream auction, raises thousands of dollars to support the school's activities and programs.
Over the past year, I've had the opportunity and responsibility of working closely with the island PTA as we have fought to secure the future of this school. Our ultimate success in this process is largely due to the tenacity and hard work of the island school parents.
Having persuaded Metro council to provide the board of education with the long-term lease required to enable the board to rebuild the school on its current site, we're now very excited by the opportunity we have to expand on the existing program and vision of the school. There are discussions about building a school that will be as environmentally friendly as current technology will allow that will showcase that technology as an integral part of students' educational experience. We're beginning to explore the opportunities to integrate the activities of the park with the program of the school and vice versa, for just as our concepts of education have changed, so have our perspectives around the use and role of parkland.
Thirty years ago, the decline in enrolment at the island school caused by the demolition of most of the island community afforded the Toronto board the opportunity to embark on its innovative natural science program. It is our hope that the passage of the legislation before you will contribute to a similar renewal of the mandate of the Island Public/Natural Science school, taking advantage of the assets of location, commitment, history and strong local community involvement that have made the existing school such an important part of the educational experience of all Toronto children. Thanks.
Mrs Wheeler: My name is Charlotte Wheeler and I am the co-chair of the Toronto Island public school home and school association. I've been asked to provide you with a city parent's perspective on what it's like to have children at this school in the community.
I have two children, three and eight years old, and they both travel to the island Monday to Friday. Our family resides in the St Lawrence neighbourhood in downtown Toronto. For those of you who don't know the area, it's a relatively young neighbourhood. It's only about 12 years old, and we've been down there since the first housing came in.
My husband and I had known about the housing on the island for some time, but we only became aware of the school and the child care centre when we were looking for a preschool for our oldest daughter five years ago. A friend had told us about the day care and the school so we decided to arrange a visit. We had a very warm welcome not only from the child care staff but from the principal of the school. He took time from his schedule to take us on a tour. It really impressed us that a principal would take the time to do that.
What made us ultimately decide to use the child care is something that John referred to. Our children live in a very concrete environment, for those of you who know downtown Toronto. It was really nice to think that Monday to Friday they would be able to benefit from being in a more rural setting and also that they would be with children who have a different kind of lifestyle than our children really do. When we hit junior kindergarten, we had no question that we would leave our daughter in the school.
I think, when I look back, that neither one of us realized the commitment we would have to make to have our daughter attend the school. We are not in an area that gets busing, so every day we have to drop our children at the boat and have to pick our children up from the boat. Our working life has become tied to the ferry schedule. My husband is racing right now to get the 4:30 ferry. I hope he's there.
Activities at the school for parents like me revolve around finding a place to park your car, catching the ferry and getting back on the ferry to take your children back home. I think that, for myself, it's given me an appreciation of what people who live on the island have to deal with on a daily basis. It's certainly not a convenient way of life, believe me.
Over the time that our children have attended the school and the child care, there have been a number of changes in the population, and as the Harbourfront area has grown, there have been more and more children attending the island public school. I thought it was about 60% city and 40% island but -- for many of the city children attending the school, just to let you know, the island school is their neighbourhood school. There is no other school in the Harbourfront area at this point, so they go over to the island because it is the closest school.
For ourselves, we are able to benefit from the island public school because of the alternate attendant policy that the Toronto board has. There is a school closer to us, but the island actually is our next closest school, and when we compared the two schools, we chose the island because we felt it would offer our children a much better educational experience.
Also, as the city population has increased at the school, I have sensed a willingness on the part of the school to respond to that. This year, within the home and school executive, we changed our constitution so that the makeup is now comprised of three city parents and three island parents to reflect the nature of the school. I think I've sensed a willingness on the part of the island parents to allow those kinds of changes to happen and to accept us more into the school community.
Just to end, I know that my family has benefited from the contact with the children on the island and with the other families on the island and I understand from island parents I've gotten to know that their children have benefited from the contact with city children. They say that there's much less isolation now. The children travel back and forth more freely and get to know each other better. I would hope that the island community will remain and the connection between the city and the island communities will continue to grow. Thank you.
Mrs Mazza: Good afternoon. My name is Pam Mazza and I, along with many other parents from both the city and the island community, personnel from the Toronto Board of Education and our Metro representatives, have been working for the past five years to ensure the continuation of the Island Public/Natural Science school. For the past year I've been the chair of the SOS, which stands for Save Our School, Coalition. Had the school issue not been linked to the Toronto Islands community issue, I don't think the Toronto Board of Education would have had nearly the difficulties that it had to get the long-term lease it required.
Today I'd like to reflect on my perspective of the island school in the context of the community, Toronto and the world as a whole as I look back on those five years.
The location of the school seems odd now without understanding the history of the island. Once in the centre of the community, it is now about one and a half kilometres from the Ward's Island end, but this does not mean that there is not a great deal of attachment to it, as many community members attended there when they were children, my husband included.
When the Toronto Board of Education recommended replacing it, it launched a community process that dealt with a number of issues. Should it be moved closer to the existing houses? Should it stay? Should it be renovated? Should it be replaced? How big should it be? As a result, small block meetings were held and meetings were held in the city so that city parents could have input. Larger, consensus-seeking meetings were held, committees were struck and dissolved as the process warranted.
Gradually, decisions were made answering these questions, and during this time there was always cooperation and openness with the Toronto Board of Education and the city parents. By the time we had to face the politicians at Metro council last November, we had become a united and cohesive front and our belief in the value of the school had broadened beyond wanting it to stay just for our own kids. We had begun to realize the value of the school for the variety of the programs offered to both city and island children, its increasingly important role in the growing environmental awareness that the world has been experiencing these last few years and as a valuable resource to the park itself.
There's no doubt that the importance of the natural science program has become greater than ever. With the countryside becoming ever more remote, the week that the city children spend over here exposes them to a park they may otherwise never visit and gives them an opportunity to become aware of plant and wildlife they may otherwise never notice. Of course, there is the role the school plays in environmental awareness. As well as making this a part of the curriculum, the school has become a provincial centre for teacher training in the field of environmental science. It also contributes to research programs in the natural sciences in Ontario and North America.
The island community has always been very active in its school. We have a healthy and thriving parent-teacher association. The amount of parent input into the school on a daily volunteer basis is tremendous. After-four programs -- these are small classes held for kids after school; they may do ceramics or story writing -- and after-school day care have been regularly run out of community members' houses over the years. Children visiting the natural science school study the community as part of their curriculum. They share in an old-fashioned style of Hallowe'en, when they trick or treat on Hallowe'en night. They come around in the community.
The school fund-raisers consistently get full community support, both from the city and from the island, notably at the annual dream auction. The tenacity which we have exhibited over the past few years in fighting to save our school is testimony to our feelings about it.
As the harbour area neighbourhoods have matured and coalesced, the city parents have become increasingly involved in the school and the island community. For many of them this is their district school. They've become equally active in the PTA, the SOS Coalition, as volunteers and workers in the school. In the process many of us have become friends and our children have become friends.
One increasingly important aspect of the school in relation to the park, and the same could be said of the community, is the growing concern about safety. Only last summer there were some riots that erupted near Centre Island. In what would be an otherwise desolate area of the park, the school now provides a 24-hour-a-day presence five days a week.
Richard Johnston talked about underutilization of the park, and this brings me to my final comments. This is my vision of what the school could become. Buried inside the ramshackle structure is the original 1909 two-room schoolhouse. There's a lot of island history and memorabilia getting dusty under islanders' beds. It would be a wonderful opportunity to restore this old schoolhouse and turn it into an island archives and museum.
It could include a field house for the natural science school, highlighting the resources and geography of the park. The lighthouse, itself an ignored but wonderful part of Toronto history, could become a feature. Weekend walks into the bird sanctuary could be organized. The school, because of its residential component, could be used for retreats or conferences or possibly a future earth summit on a smaller scale.
When Metro council voted last November to renew the school's lease for 49 years, thereby saving our school, during the discussions there was a change of attitude that I felt was significant. The old intransigence among the majority of the Metro councillors towards the island community was gone. There was definite talk that it was time to move on. There have been big changes in the world in five years, let alone in the 20 years that the islanders have fought for the community and the school they so strongly believe in. The possibilities are endless for this 650 acres of land. It is time to move on.
The Chair: Thank you. There is some time for some questions. Over to the government side.
Mr Marchese: Actually, only one question. You didn't talk about the state of the repairs that the school was in, and you might want to mention that. What condition was it in?
Mr Campey: The existing school is ranked 600th, it's ranked at the very bottom of the list in terms of the state of repair of public and separate schools in the municipality of Metropolitan Toronto. So it is the school in the worst state of repair in all of Metro and we in fact have now, through the Metro Toronto board, the capital allocation in the bank for two or three years to totally rebuild the school. The funding is there for the new school to be built.
Ms Swarbrick: I'll just say thank you. I think your presentation was excellent, especially in terms of pointing out the value to the rest of the city of having the natural science school there. I think it sounds marvellous. I'll look forward to visiting some time.
Mr Mammoliti: There has been some argument in terms of the 60% of the students who live off the island and who come on to the island to go to school. In terms of that 60%, the argument has been that the school should have been placed perhaps off the island and perhaps on the shore here in Toronto somewhere on this side.
In terms of the nature and in terms of what the children can learn about trees and the wilderness and all of that stuff, are there any other reasons why the school should be placed on the island as opposed to off the island?
Mr Campey: I think you're raising two issues there. One is in terms of the current situation, and the fact there is that the Toronto Board of Education is short 350 classrooms across the city, so we will take classrooms wherever we can get them. If we could find boats in the harbour that had classrooms, we'd put them on there as well.
In terms of construction of the new school, in fact by combining the natural science school and the regular school we're able both to serve the island community, because we would have to provide transit for an equivalent number of students either way, and to make significant capital and operating savings. To build a standalone natural science school and then build another school to serve the island and Harbourfront communities on the mainland would be more expensive than in fact combining the two.
I believe our board estimates were that there was a saving by combining the two schools of, I think, $150,000 in operating costs and -- was it over $1 million in terms of capital? So in fact it effects a significant financial savings for the board of education in terms of having the two schools combined, as well as the program benefits of having a local school community that has a sense of ownership around the natural science school program and the school itself. We do have a standalone natural science facility for older students in Boyne River, near Orangeville, and it sort of is just there. Nobody particularly cares about it, so there's not the kind of support for program that we have at the island school.
Mr Mammoliti: Are the kids learning about the history of the island as well?
Mrs Wheeler: Yes, I think that's one of the things that, being a city parent, my children and I -- I didn't know anything about the island when my children started, or, as Pam was mentioning, the lighthouse, which is really an historic property. They'll come home and tell you the stories about the War of 1812 and things like that. They've learned an awful lot and they've learned a lot about the community. They really know the history of the community and what's happened with the community. That's true for the city children as well as for the island children.
Mr Eddy: Thank you for your presentation. Mr Campey, you said there's money to replace the school. In other words, are there plans to replace the island school and will it be as large as the one that's there, in other words, that's fully utilized?
The other question, if I can throw it in at the same time -- I wondered how you decide which mainland children have the opportunity to attend that school. Is there an area of Harbourfront, a total square that they have the choice whether to go or not? How is it decided? I understand some areas nearby can go and others can't. I don't understand how you do that.
Mr Campey: To answer your first question, the school is going to be rebuilt right next to the existing school to serve the same number of students.
In terms of who is eligible to go, there is a district which serves the island school, which includes a significant part of the waterfront community, as well as the island, and students in that area can attend as of right. If in fact there is additional space in the school, any student from across the city of Toronto can attend. At this point it is, I believe, the case that any elementary school student in the city of Toronto who wished to attend the island school would be able to do so. They'd need to make their own transportation arrangements.
Mr Eddy: But they have the opportunity to go or not to go?
Mr Stockwell: Can I ask about Rosethorn?
The Chair: You certainly can ask, Mr Stockwell.
Mr Stockwell: Just curious. I don't think he'd know though.
Ms Swarbrick: Just on the last question or two, I know Mr Rosart in the audience was shaking his head there. Mr Rosart is one of the residents on the mainland who points out that a number of the children from the mainland side end up having to be sent to other schools further away, to a number of different schools, because there's not room for all of them on the island school.
I'm just wondering if you've got any comments with regard to that, John, especially given that you were mentioning that if there were room, then other children from across the city would be able to go. It sounds as though there's not room. Is that --
Mr Campey: No, my understanding is that, at this point, any child who wishes to go to the island school, whose parents are public school supporters in the city of Toronto, can attend. People in the Harbourfront community at this point have a wide range of schools to which they can send their children and in fact do. I think there are 20 or 30 schools where students from the Harbourfront currently attend, until we're able to get a school built in that Harbourfront community to meet the local need.
Ms Swarbrick: So it's a matter of choice, you're saying.
Mr Campey: Yes.
Ms Swarbrick: One of the reasons, though, that you want to maintain a body on the island was that it was cheaper to rebuild it there as well.
Mr Campey: That's correct.
Mrs Mazza: The board made it very clear that it valued the natural science school very much but it did not have the capital funds to build two separate facilities. That's why the two together are a necessity.
Mrs Wheeler: Just around alternate attendance, my two children are on alternate attendance -- well, my older one is; my little one's not in school yet. But I have known parents in my neighbourhood, the St Lawrence neighbourhood, who have been refused a spot in the school because there wasn't room in that particular grade. You go and you put your name forward and it's the luck of the draw, and you hope you get your child in. But if another child comes forward at the same time from the catchment area, then your child won't be accepted.
Mr Stockwell: Finally, there are more students coming from the mainland though.
Mr Campey: At this point I think it's a slight majority. I'm not sure of the exact percentage.
Mr Stockwell: Slight? I heard it was more than slight.
Mr Campey: We're talking 50-50 or 60-40, but you're talking about 170 students, so you're talking about 10 students.
Mr Stockwell: It's like 100 to 70, as I understood it, and the growth that they were expecting was more students would be coming from the mainland as opposed to the island.
Mrs Mazza: Actually, when the housing stock is built, it will probably be the reverse. There will probably be more children from the island who will attend than --
Mr Stockwell: You see, that's surprising, because I thought if they built a school at Harbourfront, the catchment area in that specific area would produce significantly more students for the school than the 70 or so who would go to it on the island. Is that not correct?
Mr Campey: That's correct. But again, with the development that's taken place in the Harbourfront community, we already have enough students.
Mr Stockwell: Rosario knows. Hold on, I'll listen to him.
Mr Campey: We already have enough students in the Harbourfront area to require a new school as well.
Mr Stockwell: So you need two new schools.
Mr Campey: Yes.
Mr Stockwell: You need an island school and a Harbourfront school.
Mr Campey: That's correct.
Mr Stockwell: The school up the street from me, I need that opened, and you do such a darned good job, I should put you on that case next.
The Chair: Are there further questions? No? Thank you very much for taking the time to come, and happy birthday. I would just remind the committee that the committee hearings commence tomorrow morning at 9:30.
Mr Stockwell: Can we have a subcommittee meeting?
The Chair: At 2 o'clock you wish a subcommittee meeting? I don't think we need one, unless you have a problem. Would you like one?
The Chair: See you tomorrow, 9:30.
The committee adjourned at 1657.