Tuesday 26 January 1993

Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act, 1993, Bill 61

Gordon Mills

Richard Johnston

Nancy Bardecki

CoHousing Society

Russell Mawby, representative

City of Toronto

Dennis Y. Perlin, city solicitor

William Roedde

Jon Caulfield

Sally Gibson

Toronto Island Archives

Rick Simon

Peter Holt, custodian

Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association

David Smiley, representative

Equity Homeowners' Committee

Kay Walker, member

Enid Cridland, member


*Chair / Président: Brown, Michael A. (Algoma-Manitoulin 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

The committee met at 1009 in committee room 2.


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 on general government will come to order. The business of the committee is to consider Bill 61, An Act respecting Algonquin and Ward's Islands and respecting the Stewardship of the Residential Community on the Toronto Islands. The way we will proceed today is to begin with a statement from the parliamentary assistant for Municipal Affairs, Mr Mills, followed by an opportunity for the two opposition critics to make brief statements. Then we will move to Mr Johnston in the ministry to make a submission and members will then have an opportunity to ask questions.

I would apologize to the members for the change in schedule, but I think we all recognize why that had to occur. I would like, if I could, to have the subcommittee meet immediately following the meeting this morning to consider how we will allocate the remaining time. There are a number of suggestions, and I think we should try to accommodate those. Mr Mills.


Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): Mr Chairman and members of the committee, the bill which is before you today is designed to resolve the long-standing dispute involving the city of Toronto, Metropolitan Toronto and the province over the future of the Toronto Islands.

This issue has been debated publicly and in the courts, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada. Through all of this controversy the residential community on the islands has been left in limbo as to its survival and its future. The Toronto Islands Residential Community Stewardship Act will put this matter to rest.

Bill 61 is the result of consultation and negotiations with the province, Metro Toronto, the city of Toronto and the islanders themselves, all of whom made accommodations and compromises to their original positions. This bill represents the best, the most comprehensive solution to this long-standing, thorny issue.

Before detailing the provisions of the act, I would like briefly to recap the background of the Toronto Islands, as it has a considerable impact on what emerged in the legislation.

The Toronto Islands community is as old as this country. It began as a cottage development in 1867, the year of Confederation. Twenty-one years later, the city of Toronto established a 200-acre park there. The attempted dismantling of this close and independent community began in 1956, when Metro Toronto first took over the islands. Four hundred homes were demolished in 1957, and in 1968 the first homes were demolished without compensation. Since 1974, when Metro terminated the islanders' leases, members of the community have led a precarious existence, uncertain about their future. The legislation before you for public hearing will give the community the sense of security it needs to plan for the future.

The Toronto Islands are home to 650 people, who occupy some 250 houses on 33 acres of land. That is less than 5% of the total land of the islands, less than that occupied by the private yacht clubs on the islands. According to a 1991 survey of island residents, 65% have lived on the island for 15 years or more, 54 of the 250 houses are owned by retirees and more than 22% of the residents have a household income of less than $20,000. Clearly, this is a community worthy of consideration and preservation, not only for the benefit of those who live there but for the thousands of people who love to visit it yearly.

On March 13, 1991, Richard Johnston was appointed by the Minister of Municipal Affairs as special adviser on the Toronto Islands. He was given 60 days in which to report on the fairest way to ensure the preservation of a residential community on the islands. Mr Johnston is here today to take you briefly through a history of negotiations on the islands and through his own consultation process, but before he does, I would like to review the set of assumptions Mr Johnston worked under.

First of all, it was assumed that the community should stay for the long term. All residents, regardless of their income, should be allowed to remain.

It was equally important that the land remain in public ownership but that the ownership of the houses should revert to the islanders. The housing on this public land should not be and will not be used or exchanged for excessive individual profit.

The goal was a reasonable balance between the control of individual profits and the costs of residency. This legislation will establish and enshrine that balance. It was important that any solution should not be a burden on the Metro taxpayer, that the island community should be as self-sustaining as possible.

Finally, it was established that Ward's Island should continue to be a gateway to the island park.

The bill that you're about to review ensures that these assumptions are met. It embodies the spirit and intent of Mr Johnston's report.

Members of the committee may recall that the Minister of Municipal Affairs first introduced the Toronto Islands bill on December 19, 1991. It contained these measures:

-- Land comprising the residential community will remain in public ownership, being transferred from Metro Toronto to the province because Metro did not wish to be a land owner, as Mr Johnston had suggested it become.

-- A Toronto Islands Community Trust, with representation from the community and the government, will be established to manage the lands.

-- The province will lease the land to this trust for 99 years. The trust will manage all transactions pertaining to the land and houses on the islands and oversee the designated new development. It will also be responsible for the development and maintenance of those lands not used for residential purposes.

-- Homes will be returned to the island residents, who will have limited rights of ownership which I will outline shortly.

-- Island residents will be offered 99-year leases for the land. Residents on Ward's Island will pay $36,000 for their land leases, while each land lease for the larger lots on Algonquin Island will cost $46,000.

-- Low-income seniors will be entitled to a 25% payment deferral on the purchase price.

-- The city of Toronto will receive about $12 million through the sale of land leases to island residents. In addition, the city will be able to collect approximately 50% of its previous investment in water and sewer services.

-- Property sales will be strictly regulated to ensure that no windfall profits accrue. All home and lease sales will take place through the community trust. The selling price of a home will be determined by a formula which takes into account the current cost of building and the owner's equity, which will grow annually.

-- The selling price of the land lease would also be subject to a formula, which will consider the cost of money and the accumulative rate of inflation from the time the lease starts to the year it is sold. Nancy Bardecki, the director of the municipal finance branch at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, will explain how the formula works in her presentation, which will follow later.

-- In addition to those houses already on the islands, the community will be increased by up to 110 new housing units. At least 80 of the new homes will be managed by a housing cooperative. The increased number of homes will make the community's services more cost-efficient and open up to the public the opportunity to live on the islands.

We believe these provisions are fair to all parties.

After the bill was introduced in December 1991, further consultation took place with the island residents. As a result, several refinements were made and the bill was reintroduced in June 1992. Most of the changes to the bill are technical in nature and do not affect the policy directions or decisions contained in the original bill. However, they do include these measures:

-- Individuals who occupy a home on the islands but who are not entitled to ownership of it will have some protection. A "protected occupant" would be allowed to continue to occupy the house for a set period of time while seeking alternative housing on the islands or elsewhere. They will be required to pay rent for the house and land.

-- The money from the house will be held in trust for the owner, who will be paid with interest. "Protected occupants" will be given priority to purchase a house on the islands and they will also be given priority for units run by the co-op.

-- A commissioner will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor to determine ownership of island homes where the ownership is in dispute. It is the commissioner who will rule on whether an individual is entitled to be a "protected occupant."

-- Another change to the original legislation allows owners in certain circumstances, such as long-term illness or sabbatical leave, to sublease their houses with the approval of the community trust.

-- In line with the spirit of the Johnston report, provisions have been added to allow owners, upon their deaths, to transfer their houses to their children.

I'm going to pause here, Mr Chairman. Oh, I've got another sheet, just before we get to Mr Johnston.

Let us remember that this legislation will not only benefit those who live on the islands, but the thousands of people who each year visit there to stroll the car-free streets and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of one of North America's most unique communities.

This hard-won resolution, this legislation, will preserve an important part of our heritage that will provide benefits for future generations of Ontarians to enjoy. Mr Chairman and members of the committee, I would ask you to keep this in mind during the hearings.

Richard Johnston and the staff of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs are on hand to assist and make a presentation following the opportunity for members of the opposition to comment.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I think it's a little too early to criticize the bill. I'd like to hear from Mr Johnston and also from the ministry. I'd be very interested in learning about the formula, how they decided that some homes or land were worth $36,000 on Ward's Island and $46,000 on Algonquin Island. So I'm very much interested in finding out what that formula is all about.

Mr Chris Stockwell (Etobicoke West): It was a curious explanation the parliamentary assistant gave of the legislation, offering up Mr Johnston as an expert witness, or an expert. With respect to presenting his report, I think it's unfair to suggest that this is some non-partisan individual who's going to offer an impartial view of the island. Mr Johnston's position on the island is not a secret and wasn't a secret when he was a member of this Legislature. He was in favour of the preservation of the island homes.

Let's bear that in mind before Mr Johnston makes his presentation. I've read Mr Johnston's report and it's pretty much the same stuff that I've heard for the past 10 years I've been dealing with this issue, and probably the past 30 or 40 years that this issue has been around.

I'm going to be very curious to hear about some of the information you're going to bring forward with respect to transfer of the leases and costs, and this information about rent that will be paid and interest accrued and delivered back to the owner. This will be a rather interesting explanation. It will be interesting to hear from the finance people in Municipal Affairs exactly how this approach will be used.

I seriously, seriously question the percentages that you gave in the beginning. I think you should recheck those. I don't believe them, that 65% have lived on the island for 15 years or more, that 22% of the residents' income is less than $20,000; I'm not sure about that. I think you should recheck the occupancy and the years of occupancy. I think they're just basically wrong. It would be interesting if you rechecked those as of today, because I think you'll find that most of the residents, or a goodly number of the residents, haven't lived there as long as you've suggested they have, according to the rolls I've seen.

Finally, as we go through this, I think we should bear in mind there are a significant number of people living on that island who have a very high standard of living, who make a lot of money. As we go through this, I think all parties should remember that there are a lot of people out there, like single mothers and seniors, who are living in basement apartments, literally dumps, in this city, paying upwards of $600 a month, $800 a month to live in dumps. We should remember this as we work our way through this and discover who these people are or who some of these people are who live on the island. and we should bear that in mind when we figure out that at $36,000 and $46,000 a year, it's going to cost them a buck a day for 100 years to live on this island.

I think the socialists, who should cast their minds back to when they were in opposition and they talked about fair market value and affordable housing and so on, should remember the deal they cut with some of what I would consider to be wealthy people in this Metropolitan Toronto area, and bear in mind the single mothers out there and the seniors and so on who are living in dumps for $600 and $700 a month.

The Chair: Mr Mills, if you would like to answer this.

Mr Mills: I would like to now call on Mr Richard Johnston to talk about the history of the Toronto Islands community and the search he had for the solutions in this area.


The Chair: Welcome to the committee, Mr Johnston. You're certainly a familiar face in this place.

Mr Richard Johnston: Thank you. It's good to be back, and I would have only expected that warm welcome I'd already anticipated. I would have been disappointed if it had been otherwise.

I'd like to set a context for how I looked at this report as I developed it. Mr Stockwell's absolutely right. I've been a supporter of the Toronto Islands community remaining since I was elected in 1979, and as you see by the presumptions of my report, I presumed that the community would continue as I followed it.

However, the ideas that find themselves in the report I did not have in 1979 or 1981, in fact I didn't have until I was well through the process of consultation. What I'd like to present to you is an argument that what you have here is something borrowed and something new, and one could even say something green, something red and something blue. I borrowed from all the political parties that were involved over the years in terms of their ideas and tried to amalgamate a number of approaches that had already been taken into consideration by others. There is only a new twist, if I can put it that way, in terms of what I presented.

I'll just give you a bit of the historical context. I think you'll get this from some other people in more colourful ways. The island has always been controversial, since the very first pub was opened on it back in the 1850s, and has always been popular in some aspects and resented in others. I would just say that this tradition will continue probably long after any legislation is put in. I never expected this issue to be put to bed for ever and ever.

There are, of course, all sorts of people with connections to the island that I never realized before I was involved, whether it was Hugh Garner, who spent much of his childhood there, or Mayor Joyce Trimmer, whose first home in Canada was on Toronto Island, or Mayor Crombie and John Sewell. Of course, Michael Cassidy, one of our past leaders of the NDP, actually lived there for a while as well. The connections are many and always surprising when I discover who has some intimate relationship to the island.

I guess I would want to just put us, not in the ancient historical context but start in the 1950s.

If you look at the island of the 1940s and early 1950s, you have an island with a population of between 5,000 and 7,000 people living on it, some would argue as many as 4,000 of those being year-long. The figures are very hard to confirm at that stage, but if you look at Barry Swadron's report, he goes into a lot of detail about that.

It's also a place which was a sort of Coney Island at one point, massive hotels at Hanlan's Point and other places, wonderful carnivals, a place where much of Toronto went to spend its summers.

At that time, in the late 1940s and early 1950s, the proposal that ended up finally with this being a park is a park is a park, which turns out to be what this issue revolves around ultimately, was not considered until the very last minute, at the beginning of Metro council in those days. Up to that point, there were two plans before the council, one of which was to develop huge storage spaces and warehouses out there, and the other was a massive kind of condominium development with a tunnel to the island. That was what was before the council for discussion.

It was being opposed by the islanders because this would destroy the tradition of the place, and in the interesting twists and turns of politics, and maybe especially local politics even more so than provincial, at the last minute, all of a sudden it was said, "Well, this whole thing should be a park," and that's where the parks department started in Metro. It became the symbol for Tommy Thompson and others that a park is a park and you can walk on the grass and all of those kinds of very important icons, and became part of the conflict.

Even at that early stage there were people who were arguing that an urban park did not have to just be grass and picnic tables, that it could fact include housing, and that if places like Central Park had thought of things like that, they might be a lot less insecure places than they are at the present time. So the battle was basically taken from that perspective at that time.


I'd also say that if you look at the way the islands have been used from the 1940s through to now, there are about a quarter of the people going to the Toronto Islands today who went in the 1940s. Half as many people went to the Toronto Islands in 1991 or 1992 as went in the 1960s, an amazing dropoff of usage of those facilities, and I think -- and I'll come to that point at the very end, a point that was misunderstood in my report entirely, I think, along with many other aspects -- that there's been a lack of creativity and imagination about the appropriate usage of that kind of park space. It's not a wilderness park; it is a city park and it really needs to have much better usage.

There's a present deficit in the ferry services to the islands of almost $4 million a year at this point. I don't think this city, quite frankly, can countenance that lasting for much longer. If we don't find more efficient ways to provide services to the community of Toronto using the islands, then I think the islands themselves will be in jeopardy. That became something that started to come up in the back of my mind as I went through the process.

Up until the 1960s, when homes were displaced and when the Toronto Islands were built, for instance, many homes were moved from Hanlan's Point and that area down to Algonquin Island, which is one of the two islands in question here today. All of those homes were compensated for when people couldn't move and there was a financial recognition of people having been there for many years and sometimes generations.

It was only in the 1960s, as things got more acrimonious between the island community and Metropolitan Toronto council at that time, that the notion of compensation ended and homes started to be destroyed without any financial compensation to the individuals, many of whom had lived there for 30 or 40 years at that time.

The battles, of course, continued during the 1970s, and I'm not going to go into the details of that. I'm sure most of you researched those. Barry Swadron QC was asked to produce a report, which he did in 1981, which produced -- if I could put it this way and I think even Barry would consider it this way -- a half-solution. It produced a guarantee that the community could remain there until 2005 but took away the question of ownership of the properties, that is to say of the houses for those individuals, a very vexing question for the islanders, as I say, especially for the long-term residents.

I might say, just in response to Mr Stockwell's concerns about the census that was taken, the figures that are used are from a census done by islanders but in fact it goes very close to the federal census that was actually taken of the island just prior to that. In my consultations I met virtually everyone who lives on the island as well as most of the people who have claims to property there but are in dispute. I don't find anything untoward about those statistics. There are wealthy people who live on the island, it's true, but I was surprised at the large number of seniors who put up with those winters and the conditions they have and especially the number of poor, single-mother-led families, many of whom are tenants but not all of whom are, of the ones I met on the island.

At any rate, Swadron's report looked like it might have produced a solution in 1981 but it didn't, partially because of this question of ownership, which became a battle-cry, and partially because the city council in Toronto wanted to try to recognize ownership. The city in those days, it's important to remember, was very much the ally of the Toronto Islands residents, so much so that even when I was going through this process of consultation and the city in fact voted not to participate with me at one point, the islanders still preferred the city to Metro as landlord. The hatred was very much directed -- and that's not too strong a word -- at Metro council and not at the city of Toronto.

The city was very much actively lobbying all three provincial parties to try to get changes in legislation that would allow people to have ownership of their houses, at least, in whatever solution came forward, and so during that whole period did not levy any of the rents against the individuals. They paid Metro what was the assigned amount for Metro's portion, which is to say the result of the Gordon Atlin QC's arbitration amount, which is around $655,000 a year. That money was turned over by the city to Metro after that arbitration was made, but the actual levy on the residents was never made.

There was never a formula established for rents. There was never a call for money from the islanders from the city. Often that's turned around against the islanders, but I think if you look at responsibility, the city of Toronto had a responsibility to its taxpayers, if it felt inclined to do so, to actually require payment of rent during that period and it did not do so, again for the reasons which are very well laid out in council records that you can have a look at, about why it wanted to try to change the nature of it.

Just before I came on the scene in 1990, there were two more attempts to find a solution. I think these are really important to put into context and not to forget at this stage. First, there was the Perlin-West report, as it's known, which was a staff report to the city of Toronto from the solicitor and one of the directors, which recommended a solution, which was negotiated with the islanders, and which in late September was defeated by council. I wish to come back to that. The other concerned negotiations between Mayor Art Eggleton and the Metro chair, Mr Tonks, around a solution which would allow Metro to maintain control. I'll come back to that one. Both of these failed, for reasons which I'll allude to in a minute.

The basis for the Perlin-West approach was the Gordon Atlin QC arbitration, in which he determined the rate of rent that he thought should be there for the island properties. I use this as one of the benchmarks for coming up with the capitalized lease that has caused so much difficulty to Mr Stockwell and others. That attribution was essentially assumed by the Perlin-West people. The figure they used was $46,950 for Ward's and $62,586 for Algonquin as a capitalized lease: something less than $2 a day for 99 years for the one and slightly more than $2 a day for the other, if you wish to use Mr Stockwell's analysis about how capitalized leases work, which I would indicate at first that I do not accept as a notion at all.

Gordon Atlin's award was --


Mr Johnston: Well, I think I'll show you how I'm an expert in a few minutes, if I might. I'm used to parliamentary asides.

Mr Atlin's report, which I hope you've all read, and if you haven't read, you should read, because it is the basis of the decisions, indicated the following. If I might, I'd just like to read from his conclusions on the last page, because he is an expert, as were the people who did the assessments for him.

The third-last paragraph: "The great value of the island homes is in their location and not their buildings. An analysis of my ward should make it clear that the greatest part of the rent by far is attributable to the land." So of that $46,000 and $60,000-some that he attributed to the two islands, he admits that the vast majority of that actually is land value, not house value. I think it's very important when you then come to why I tried to take land values out of the formulation. Even with his very small capitalized lease, one can argue, he was including land costs. He estimated that the value of the home was 23% of the overall value of the property plus home. That was his analysis, done by three separate assessors who worked for him.

He also made a couple of other points, which I'd like to refer to now in case I forget them later on. He said that the city, which was at that point claiming it should receive money back for the costs of sewers, was incorrect. He said he didn't have a right to rule on that, because it was outside his purview, but every other established community in Metropolitan Toronto would not have to pay the capitalized costs of sewer hookup in the way that the islanders were being asked to do. I refer to that within my report as well to indicate that something should be done, but not the full amount. I tried to make a sawoff on that, as you recall, but I based part of my decision on his comments and on other comments around the validity of the sewer hookup.

The other thing he said was that it was unjust to have the ferry deficit applied in any way to the islanders, that no other people who were reliant on public transit in Metropolitan Toronto ever had the deficits of the TTC applied directly to them and not to other users of the system. I think that also was a very important point that needs to be made.

The city, when it comes before you, will, I think, argue that the question of the sewer hookup, in technical terms, is that this was a new sewer, and it was not to an existing community and therefore could be seen to be distinct. I would argue that because there were sewers already on the island, to the yacht club, for instance, pushed through in 1977, although not to the rest of the community, as part of the battle between the islanders and Metropolitan Toronto council, in fact this was a hookup. It was not a brand-new service to something which never existed in the past.


The Perlin-West report had the following principles in it, and I think if you look at these you'll see that a lot of the principles in my report are not brand-new. They came from somewhere else. The Perlin-West report indicated, (1) that there should be home ownership, that that principle should be accepted, and (2) that there should be a 99-year capitalized lease.

The preference for capitalized lease, which I followed as well as he followed, which always then is open to the attack of the dollar-a-day or two-dollars-a-day or three-dollars-a-day kind of approach, is that the money up front, of course, is worth more than getting so much per month, that the city or municipality can use that for investment if it chooses to do so, and that you really have to look at the relative value of those dollars over 99 years and what increments and incomes people could have made from those dollars if they had maintained them rather than paying it out in capital. That is in fact why capitalized leases are used in many, many instances as a preferred approach by municipalities and other groups.

Another principle that he had involved was no windfall profits. I would say that this was the major area of failing in the Perlin-West report, and I'd like to come back to this in a few minutes if I might.

Another principle is that there should be no economic eviction. He recognized that there were many poorer people out there and he wanted to find some way to be able to ensure that they could stay as well. They used a different formulation than I did. They indicated that no one should have to pay more than 30% of their income on paying for their leases, and therefore had a lien system on it. I think it was a severe lien system which, for most of the seniors on the island, would have effectively, within a five- to 10-year period, taken away most of their capacity to have any equity in their homes at all. It would have been very hard on those poorer individuals.

The other principle was that this needed to be a year-round community, that this could no longer be a vacation spot for the wealthy from the city of Toronto but really had to be people who were willing to live there. That was an important principle within the Perlin-West approach, not my approach, as I indicated; I borrowed from these ideas.

The other thing was whether there should be protection for existing tenants. He also recognized, and they recognized, that there were many people there who had been tenants for 15 years or 20 years, were not disputing ownership, but were really strong members of that very vibrant community, obviously vibrant to be able to withstand the pressures for its demolition that it has had over the years.

Another thing he suggested is that co-op housing be an alternative for vacant lots, so again, another one of the concepts which I changed slightly in my report was raised first in the Perlin-West approach.

The last principle I bring forward is that he proposed a loan-guarantee approach to allow lower-income people to be able to stay.

I would argue, however, that the windfall profit side of his formulation was much less rigorous than what I've put into my report. I will remind you that the difference, especially with the present leases listed in the legislation, is not that significant -- $46,000 for Ward's -- to what is in our present legislation. But with that, you only had a three-year effective control on resale. At the end of three years you could sell your place for whatever you could get. The next person who bought it would also be caught for three years but then could sell it. So effectively, at two points, at the three-year period and again at the six-year period, under Perlin-West, you could have had massive capital gain.

For people who paid $1,000 for their homes when the homes were most insecure, for instance in the late 1970s, that could have been a massive windfall, which I think would have been unacceptable, given all the other provisions and principles that were being put in place here. I thought it was going too far. At the end of six years, there would have been absolutely no control. Therefore, that major principle of real estate that location, location, location is everything would have applied to the islands and I think it would have become a place where only high-income people could have gone. The prices would have skyrocketed if this approach had been accepted and passed by the council of the day.

What I'd like to do is now move to the question of the orange, red and blue, if I might, and look to 1990. In 1990, all three parties again, as usual, went on record on the Toronto Islands, and I'd like to remind you of what the three party leaders at that point indicated their support for.

Each of them wrote a letter in support of the Perlin-West solution -- each one of them. For those of you who are worried about major giveaways to islanders, I would argue, as I will take you through the land trust notion, that we've got much more control on this than that which all three parties supported.

I'll give you some quotes, if you like, from the various leaders. Bob Rae very clearly was in favour, and I'm the result of that, I suppose.

David Peterson, in a letter of September 2, 1990, in the ending days of that election, confirms his commitment to the long-term preservation of the Toronto Islands community. "The Liberal government's position on this issue has consistently been that we will bring forward the necessary legislation to enshrine home ownership in the hands of those with proper documentation." He compliments them on the work being done on this particular solution, the Perlin-West solution, and hopes that it goes through.

Mike Harris indicates that he will introduce enabling legislation to put the agreement in place, referring to the Perlin-West agreement that was being negotiated at that time. It has been minuted in the Toronto council meetings. You can get that from those, or I have copies of it here if you'd like to have a look at it.

So all three parties indicated that the Perlin-West approach was acceptable to them, in what I would consider untoward generosity in terms of profiteering that was possible. The other aspects of it I endorse wholeheartedly.

When Mr Perlin comes before you, as I think he will for the city of Toronto, arguing for slightly more money for the leases, I think it would be interesting to put it in the context of what he had recommended in 1990, which I think was a lot less tight than what is in my recommendations.

At this same point, the Metro chairman, Mr Tonks, was in negotiations privately with the mayor of Toronto. His approach was to try to get Metro to maintain itself as landlord and to set up a system which would guarantee the homes of anybody who was there, but essentially it would be the end of the island community by attrition: Any time a person died or moved off the island, that home would then become the property of Metro Toronto, which could decide whether to tear it down or to allow somebody else to live there.

That almost came to agreement. The problem fell down to the following matter. The city of Toronto wished to be made whole, as it kept saying; that is to say, that it should get all its money back, but its definition of what all its money was was unacceptable to Metro, and I concur with Metro on this. That is, they started to add imputed interest to the rents they'd never asked for, something which no landlord in the province of Ontario can do under the Landlord and Tenant Act, I might add. But never having told an individual what it was they actually had to pay, they then had worked out this approach to actually add imputed interest all the way through, which came to a much healthier sum than the $6.7 million they'd actually passed on to Metro at that point. Metropolitan Toronto said: "No, that's not acceptable. We'll give you back the money you've given us, but we're not going to give you imputed interest on these other things." So that deal fell apart as well.

By December of that year, it became clear that there was an impasse, that after nine years, since the Swadron report and the legislation in 1981, there was no solution to be found. As a result, I was then appointed to try to come in and find a solution.

My whole presumption from the beginning was to build on work that had already been done, to try to use things which looked like they were parts of solutions to come up with an answer. In trying to do so, I have to admit I was unable to do so entirely; partially, I was unable to do so because of the intransigence of opinion and emotion that surrounds this issue.

I have to tell you, I've never been around an issue where people got so emotional, on either side, as on this one. The very day the commission was announced, islanders were being referred to as terrorists, and islanders were basically threatening to do all sorts of things if I happened to make Metro their landlord ever again. It was very hot and heavy.

I then found, unfortunately, that at city hall -- I say "unfortunately" just for my purpose of trying to find a solution -- the mood was changing fairly dramatically. People like Mr O'Donohue, who had fallen out of favour in the island community and vice versa, during the 1971 mayoralty campaign when its support went elsewhere -- the views at city hall were now hardening and that the kind of deal that was available before in Perlin-West was no longer available. As I indicated to you, they actually passed a motion that stopped the mayor from being able to discuss potential solutions with me.

So I had to work out much of the calculations in terms of the actual cost for the city without the help of staff, or sometimes in a clandestine way, with staff at the city trying to help me understand the costs to the city so that they would not be left high and dry. Again, one of the principles I was trying to operate on was that no level of government should be stuck with a bill and that no taxpayer should have to bear the brunt of this thing. That was part of the approach I tried to take on this.


It was very clear to the city throughout all of this, by the way, especially after the report had come down and Metro had indicated it didn't want to be landlord under these terms, that the city could have done much better, under my formulation, if it had been landlord: It would have been several million dollars ahead. But because it had taken responsibilities of landlord, with Metro as landlord or now with the province as landlord, it didn't gain the same kinds of dollars it might have if it had taken those kind of responsibilities.

I just want to deal with why I moved to the land trust; it was because of this question of land values. It struck me, looking at it, that this microcosm, which is quite unique but has some other applications, was an interesting one in terms of the building of private domiciles on public property. Presumably, we all believe that the public interest must be maintained by keeping public control of the land, that we don't wish to cede that. I presume we all have that same set of beliefs, that it shouldn't be just turned over to private gain and private profit.

The difficulty with all the formulations we had was that that was a very hard thing to do if you didn't have some third party playing a role to control the sale and resale of homes. There was no other artificial way of taking the value of homes out of it. That's why I presumed a land trust would be a good idea; that is to say, a body which would be the sole body responsible for the sale of homes, that no individual would have the right to sell his or her home to another individual, that all sales would have to go through a land trust.

By so doing, you can then actually make the lease for land a lease for land. If you don't do that, then you're always going to have the value of your house confused between the land values and the replacement value of the actual home, which of course depreciates over time rather than gaining in value massively over time. That's one of the reasons I thought the land trust was a good idea.

The other reason was to do with the kind of community that was there. It looked like I was not going to have any choice but to suggest that Metro be the landlord, and that the islanders needed some sense of protection from a council which seemed bent on and determined to get rid of them, even right up to the very end. There are very strong forces on Metro council who want all island homes off the island. Therefore, the notion of some kind of body of the community, but with public control on it, would be a useful way of giving them a sense of buffer.

There's another thing, and I know this won't mean much to those who are not fond of the island as an interesting historical anomaly. The sense of stewardship that was already out there was something I thought lent itself very well to the whole idea of a land trust. That is to say, if you look at 50 homes of retirees and no services, it's amazing the way the community supports those individuals to be able to make their lives easy enough to live on an island with no store on it, no medical services on it; to provide those kinds of internal supports. I thought this was the kind of community that might actually be able to take back officially some responsibilities we've been busy divesting to government.

This may be too populist and non-socialist a notion, but I was quite attracted to the concept that communities and neighbourhoods maybe could look after themselves quite well, and that this one was maybe better suited than others. That's another of the reasons I thought the land trust was an interesting notion here.

If you then look at the fact that the land value is taken out of the home -- Nancy, I presume, will go through this -- unlike normal capitalized leases, there are extra penalities in this one for the home owner: They don't do as well as you normally do under a capitalized lease in terms of return on the dollar you put forward. Essentially, what happens is that the great value of the homes gets taken out.

While I was doing my report, there were several homes that were due to be replaced. One was a fire, and the insurance companies were indicating that the price to replace it physically would have been $70,000. At the same time, houses on the island at that point, in what I call the grey market in my report, were selling for about $140,000.

The other day I had a call from somebody asking me whether or not they should buy a house on the island which had just come up at $180,000. If you look at my formulation, it would be crazy for somebody now to buy a house for $180,000 on the island. Essentially, you'd be throwing away probably in the neighbourhood of $60,000 that you'd never retrieve because you'd never be able to get the capital gain back out of it. The maximum value I can imagine at this stage for that house would be around $110,000 for the structure, and that would be the most renovated house on the island at this point, on the largest lot. If you paid $180,000 for that house, $70,000 of its value is going to be very hard for you to ever pick back up.

Under the formula I devised, which has got now a 10-year review on it, I think wisely, in case we move into long-term depressions that affect the traditional growth of real estate, people on the island now, in terms of values of their homes, even at the rates I put them at, if things continue as they have for the last 30 years, will discover a major loss vis-à-vis the property values across the road over the next period of time.

For the last 30 years, the average increase in a house's value has been 4% above inflation. If you look at the formulation I've got in the report, which has been adapted and adopted by the government, that person is going to gradually, over a period of 10 to 15 years, lose value -- I forget the figures in my own report, but I think it was around 23%, 25% of the value -- because the property on this side of the water is land value property; it's not the house. And if those property values continue to rise, unless we have some aberrant change in real estate that we have not seen for the last 30 years, the gap between the value of the homes on the island and those of the people on the mainland is going to widen.

What happens, essentially, is that most people's capital gain is in their homes, and most of it is based on land value. These are just undeniable truths. What anybody who stays on the island is doing is essentially throwing away that form of capital gain and will either have to gain it through some other kind of investment package, many of which, hopefully, are taxed and therefore are not as attractive, or in fact is going to want to move.

It should be remembered that when my report was put to a vote on the island, a large number of people were opposed to it. They were all people who understood the kind of constricture I was putting on the sense of ownership. This is a major difference between that which the three party leaders indicated their support for in 1990 and what I've suggested. I've suggested a major constraint on people's rights of ownership, for the privilege of being able to stay on public land. In some ways, this is a much tighter kind of control than most of us would ever want to accept, it seems to me.

Even with that, I discovered that there were at least two groups of people on the island who were not going to be able to stay on the island, who would be economically evicted even under my plan. The major group would be the seniors, who've been there, a lot of them, since the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, who are very low-income and will not be able to gain mortgages to handle the leases; and a lot of the tenants, who are also long-term residents, who in my report I would like to see be able to continue.

That's where one of the ideas for the co-op came forward, as well as out of the Perlin-West report, as the first notion I'd seen of it. There had been an existing co-op established in 1977 on the island, so it could be resuscitated to look after it.

The idea of the co-op was also multifold in terms of its capacity. One purpose was to provide housing for these individuals, and I'm very happy to see the changes in the legislation to protect residents during this period of transition so they could move in.

The other was to make sure economic mix would remain the reality on the islands. I know there's this attack on the notion that the lawyers and the architects -- maybe not the architects, because they're all unemployed these days, but the lawyers and other well-to-do people on the island are getting a great deal out of this. I would argue that this is, one, not the case if you look at their capital gains side, as I've already argued, and two, do we want to turn this into either an élitist community or a welfare community?


I would argue that we don't, that mixed housing of the kind that's there now is the most vibrant kind of approach we could take, and that rather than coming out with some kind of formula that tries to be income-based, it was better to try to provide some means of people being able to stay, while understanding that the big thing they've given up is rights to ownership, which they believe in very firmly and which all three parties had supported in 1990. I think that's a major thing those people have given up.

The other factor was my concern for other infrastructures if we were going to set up a land trust and the community was going to have to do even more stewardship than it's done in the past. In the legislation, as you see, there's only a guarantee of continued service to that which is there presently. This is always going to be an underserviced community. Anybody who thinks differently is kidding themselves. They're going to have to look after themselves.

With a small community and the kinds of committees they're going to need, and without Metro there to hate and energize them, they're going to need a lot more people to be able to help them do these kinds of things, to look after their garbage, to look after their seniors and other kinds of things. Also, the school itself I felt was not going to be viable unless there was a slightly larger population to guarantee a continual turnover of more children on the island.

For those reasons, I felt that adding infill was a good idea and that there was also a prospect for some more money coming to the land trust to be able to look after services if they were able to do some of the infill themselves, and that's why I split it into the two parts.

The formulation for the $36,000 and $46,000 figures is very important here, because not only is it a direct relationship to the Perlin-West approach because of the much tighter constrictor on land, but if we wanted to do renovation of homes to put them into the co-op, which is part of the idea I had, they wouldn't even have to leave their homes. They could just turn their home over to the co-op, have it renovated and brought up to scale and they'd be able to stay there.

If you wish to do that, going over about $45,000 or $50,000, it makes it very hard on the present formula for co-op renovation to be able to afford to do so. It would have meant that the average income of people coming into the co-op would have had to have been far too high for it to meet the kinds of equity issues I was after. So a figure of between sort of $30,000 and $45,000 seemed to be an appropriate kind of figure for being able to do that, as well as to construct a townhouse-style new co-op. That kind of figure per lot was not bad for being able to do that in an affordable kind of way, and that's why, again, the figure relates for the capitalized lease in those terms.

Mr Grandmaître: But Richard --

The Chair: You will get an opportunity for questions.

Mr Johnston: I'll just try to wrap up in a minute, Bernard. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to -- well, I did mean to go on at such length, because I think it's important that people don't look at this as a facile kind of response. This was a very complicated set of tradeoffs. Taking any one of them out wrecks the rest of it, just like the Perlin-West approach worked until you looked at windfall. All right? I think this one has to have all these components to it or it doesn't work either.

In terms of the seniors, the other thing I'd like to indicate is that I think this notion of trying to provide people with a 25% break for those who have lived there pre-1975 -- so they've been there a long time -- those seniors, almost all of whom I met were low income, almost all of them -- I think there may have been one who would fit that category who was not -- is that they should be given some kind of a break. That struck me as a more positive approach than the income capping kind of approach that was in Perlin-West and the lien, which would have taken away their ability to have any equity at all to pass on to their kids or their grandchildren, whomever they were going to try to get equity for. So that was why I took that approach for that side of things.

In terms of the formula for the resale of houses, I thought it would be a useful concept, which I borrowed from Metropolitan Toronto, to have what would be known as a limited equity kind of concept here. If you didn't have some kind of limited equity to give to the people who were going to be in the homes, why the heck should they treat them any differently than a renter would, because there'd be no kind of sense at all of why you'd upgrade your home in any sense at all. That's why I put in the formula which would be slightly above the inflation rate; 1.5% was the suggestion I put in.

In this time, if you took this last year and this year, and extrapolated that over a decade, that would be inappropriate because it would be more than most people would be making on the mainland because of the depression of real estate on this side. That's why there's a 10-year review to make sure that if that gets out of whack, you can adjust the formula. Over the long period, I think that will still be significantly below any major changes and trends in real estate on the mainland, and with normal market values and market forces playing a role.

Perhaps rather than going on ad infinitum about the wonders of this report, I would just like to again give credit to the Conservative Party, the Liberal Party, the city of Toronto and Metro Toronto for some of the ideas that found themselves into this particular mix, and just say that I don't think this is perfect, by any means; I never pretended it was, but this is an issue that deserves to go away after all this time, so that the public interest can be seen to be protected and the city of Toronto taxpayer is not going to lose any money.

Metropolitan Toronto has already received over $8 million for a property that it got for $1. That's absolutely true; it did.

Mr Stockwell: Sure, and what has it cost them to maintain the property for the past years? A hell of a lot more than one buck.

The Chair: Perhaps we can have questions later.

Mr Johnston: The relative argument about whether or not Metro Toronto has spent appropriate money on that community is a wonderful one to get into, because compared with any other community in Metropolitan Toronto it has not provided the kind of support to that community that one would have expected of a government at this level. If anything, the evidence is very clear that there was profound harassment over the last number of years around the islanders because of a philosophical difference, a legitimate one, between that government and those people's right to exist. Mr Stockwell knows it well because he was part of it.

I would just indicate that Metro Toronto has not lost money on this. The city of Toronto will recover more than the money it should have charged for rent, and therefore it doesn't have a cost. The province doesn't have a cost against it because of the fact that it is now the landlord and is going to get certain moneys coming back to it. The islanders are not going to be able to have windfall profits. Other people will be able to go and live on the island who have not been able to do so before. The final thing I guess I'd say is that perhaps once this is put behind us, we can actually look at more imaginative ways to deal with that park and that property, 650 acres of which are underutilized and need to be better utilized.

I look at the fact that you could have a Ned Hanlan museum there. The marine museum could be there. You could rebuild or ask private enterprise to rebuild a couple of the wonderful old hotels that have been there and have them as places you could use for in-service training or various other kinds of things and get people to focus much more on the kind of asset it is than that which we have done up to this point.

I would just hope that finally, when the bad feeling and bad blood which has lain behind this issue for so many years is out of the way, people with cool heads and not explosive tempers will try to find some very positive ways to make sure the islands are protected, because I think if the deficits continue on the ferries as they have been and the others costs continue as they have been, the islands will be in jeopardy again at some point, because of the inefficiencies of the park rather than because of the nature of the community that resides there.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Johnston. I think at this point we could entertain questions if members would indicate to me who wants to go first.

Mr Grandmaître: Mr Johnston, you talked about the formula and questioning the formula. Tell me, how did you arrive at $36,000 and $46,000? First, I think, Mr Johnston, you settled a problem which dates back since Confederation. I think you did such a good job in 60 days that you should have been negotiating Meech Lake and all of our constitutional --

Mr Johnston: I was always on the wrong side of that one.

Mr Grandmaître: You did an excellent job. I don't know why they left you out of the Constitution. Can you now explain your formula?


Mr Johnston: Now that your tongue's out of your cheek, I will.

The presumption, first, was I looked at the Atlin award and thought that the Atlin award was a just approach, that there had been three independent assessments done on that and that the valuation the city took, in terms of interpreting that $655,000 figure for the entire community, if extrapolated for the homes, would have been $46,950 on Ward's and $62,586 on Algonquin for capitalized lease, which would've included the value of the land.

As a result, I thought, if I'm taking the land out of this entirely, then what I should be doing is reducing the supposed value, because location means nothing now, and location in the analysis done by the assessors was worth the majority of the money. So if I take out the value of the location -- I'm just saying this is X number of square feet that you're sitting on -- then it has to be a lower dollar than that.

When I tried to figure out the range, as I said, I thought the range could have been between $30,000 at the low end and $50,000 at the high end for the various properties, and an argument should be made, as it was by the city, for a different amount for the Ward's Island lots, which were on the whole much smaller, than for the Algonquin lots, which were much larger.

Then when I looked at the formulation for co-op, because that had to become part of the plan, I looked at the range of dollars that would've been acceptable to keep prices in an affordable range, so that again we wouldn't have too high an income group needing to go into co-op, and it turned out to be in the same kind of range.

That's why I came in with the 30-40 approach. It would've paid back the city under that other formula all that was required and would've made money for Metro. When the plan was reverted and Metro didn't wish it, I think the province was correct to raise those figures in the way it did to more adequately be able to compensate the city for its out-of-pocket expenses.

Mr Grandmaître: In my days of being involved with the Toronto Islands, I was told that the islands were never assessed. Did you find out differently?

Mr Johnston: In which sense never assessed?

Mr Grandmaître: I'm talking about assessment and taxes.

Mr Johnston: Oh, by the city of Toronto.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes.

Mr Johnston: It's probably true, on the one hand. On the other hand, there were people who received tax rolls and that was much easier to do on Algonquin than it was on Ward's. If you go to Ward's Island, you'll discover that discovering what the boundaries are between houses is one of the most difficult things to do in the world because they were based on an old footprint concept, not on actual lots. It started off as a tent city, you see. It didn't start off as a residential community. It was only during the late 1930s, early 1940s, that people actually started to turn the tents into cottages much more, so they encroach on each other's property lines. It would be a very difficult thing to do a total assessment. You'd be better to ask the islanders specifically about that.

Mr Grandmaître: My next question is about surveying the islands. I don't think the islands were ever surveyed.

Mr Johnston: Algonquin was. Algonquin does have appropriate lots; it's Ward's that does not.

Mr Grandmaître: How will you resolve the Ward's problem?

Mr Johnston: One of the great values, number one, is that if you take out the value of the land, then the jealousy of property ownership over your plot diminishes enormously. I hope the same kind of tradition that's there now, which is to say, "Blurred lines are fine, thank you very much; my little tool shed happens to be on your side of what might be an arbitrary lot," will continue on the island and not be a problem.

But it may be that in the arbitrations -- as you know, there are 13 to 15 contested ownerships at this stage -- we will be forced to do a full-scale survey of the properties, and if that's the case, then some poor surveyor is going to have terrible headaches trying to sort it out on Ward's Island.

Mr Grandmaître: That's for sure. Once this bill is passed -- there's no mention of an official plan for the islands -- when will this take place? We're talking about building, but we don't have a zoning bylaw; we don't have an official plan. So before all of these great things are done, we'll need an official plan.

Maybe I could ask the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, what's the future plans of the ministry to ask the owners or the tenants of the islands to have an official plan?

Mr Mills: You've thrown that on me quick, Bernard. I don't have the answer right now but we can get it for you from ministry officials.

Mr Grandmaître: I was going to follow up with the floodplain problems and so on and so forth, because I was involved in those problems, and this is why I think it's so important that -- now we're talking about co-ops and I'm all for co-ops. I think they're a great housing program. But before we talk about these things, we need an official plan, we need a zoning bylaw and we need a proper infrastructure program, and that's my biggest concern: infrastructure. Who will pay for it?

Mr Johnston: For which infrastructure, Bernard? There are not going to be any roads. That's one of the great benefits of this community. The sewers are already there and are adequate.

Mr Grandmaître: Adequate? I don't know. If you're going to increase the capacity, increase the density, will you be permitting apartments in those small homes on the islands?

Mr Johnston: No, but somebody else can speak to the provisions for sublet.

Mr Grandmaître: Richard, I have a concern that --

Mr Johnston: The notion at the moment is that the island home is to be a principal residence. It is not to be something which is sublet to three or four people to be in. That is not to take place.

Mr Grandmaître: Even if it is a principal home, you'll still be allowed an apartment.

Mr Johnston: I think again, when the city comes before you, it is the one with the control over zoning and building restrictions. They've had them for some time, as was mentioned in terms of building restrictions.

Mr Grandmaître: No. Apartments in homes are a provincial matter.

Mr Johnston: No. I wasn't meaning specifically the apartments. What I was saying is that on the other questions you're asking about zoning and things like that, there have been approaches over the last number of years on this issue.

I guess my big problem with throwing up too many roadblocks in terms of being able to do anything right at the moment is that people have been living there for over 100 years. The floodplain concerns, which I know are obsessions of some, are not mine and I don't think they are of people who've lived on the islands for the last 40 years. They've been through a lot of wet times and they expect that to be part of their living over there. My sense is that those matters can be dealt with if there's goodwill.

One of the big problems throughout on this has been that there's been no goodwill, so no one has been allowed to get a building permit to improve their homes until recent times. If you want me to bring the court cases before you of people who've tried to build and not been given it, I'll be happy to do so. It's always difficult dealing with shaking heads, because they don't get on to the record as well. I just say there's been a lack of goodwill and cooperation in the past. If that changes, then I think any of those problems you're raising can be dealt with. If it doesn't, that could be problematic over the next number of months and years.

That's partially why the tradeoff for Metro of providing other land was, I thought, a very important component here so that Metro as well could be seen to be not losing parkland, not losing land that it valued, but rather saying it came out with something as well, to try to build some trust and desire to cooperate.

Mr Grandmaître: One last question: You were talking about the deplorable conditions that these people had to live under. This is something I could never understand. I remember, when I was Minister of Municipal Affairs, my first responsibility three days after I was sworn in, was to walk the islands. That was a great trip for me. Being from Ottawa, I had never visited the islands and I do agree with you that some of the conditions these people were enduring may not be seen close to Toronto or inside Toronto. How come municipal-provincial governments allowed these conditions to persist?

Mr Johnston: There's been essentially a 30-year war going on here. During that process, the political will has been shifting all over the place from people who wanted only parkland to some sort of accommodation to full ownership etc. As that changed, then the battles became unclear as to who was friend and who was foe. Various levels of government, I think, were more or less cooperative. I think it was a problematic thing.

On the other hand, in spite of that, most of the homes have been maintained. How they did it without building permits I'll never know.


Mr Grandmaître: When you say "maintained," Richard, do you mean that every building on those two islands respects the building code?

Mr Johnston: No, I didn't mean that. I'm just saying that many have been brought up to what would be a very acceptable standard. There's always been a notion of the city that the standard could be different on the island than it would be elsewhere.

Certainly, height control and other kinds of things would be more substantive on the island than they would be elsewhere because this is cottage stock. You'll never get a monster home on the island. That's not one of the possibilities. It would sink through the sand if you tried it, I presume. We should maybe try that elsewhere. I'm not sure of this.

I think they will have to have a separate standard, but there's going to have to be a much clearer standard, and at that point the expectation of building being done and building permits being issued etc, will start to happen, unlike what we've seen over the last 10 or 15 years.

Ms Anne Swarbrick (Scarborough West): I have three or four questions, Richard. First, with regard to the issue of the ownership of the homes, I know that was quite contentious when we had the debate in the Legislature. Mr Stockwell was pointing out that the courts had rendered a decision that the homes were owned by Metro and --

Mr Stockwell: The land.

Ms Swarbrick: No, the homes is what you were talking about.

Mr Johnston: Homes as well.

Ms Swarbrick: The homes is what you were challenging on in the Legislature.

Mr Stockwell: Okay. Go ahead.

Ms Swarbrick: Yet, of course, the islanders are very clear that they own their homes, that they paid for the construction of their homes and the maintenance of their homes, the upkeep of them. Would you comment and clarify that, please?

Mr Johnston: I think the courts have ruled clearly in the past under past legislative context that the homes, property and housing, were not owned by the individuals. Most of those court cases have been lost, it's true.

Now, the islanders, on the other hand, have believed exactly what you say, from time immemorial, and gradually all three political parties at the provincial side of things accepted the notion that they should be seen to own their houses. Whether it was Mike Harris, Bob Rae or David Peterson, they all, by 1990, had accepted the notion that this was one of the principal problems within the Swadron solution, and that the acceptance of their right to own their structures -- which one can argue was so accepted back in the 1950s that compensation was paid when houses were moved or torn down -- should now be accepted again. But I think, during that period when laws changed, the courts certainly did rule regularly against the islanders.

Ms Swarbrick: Is there an understandable rationale as to why the courts ruled one way when in fact the islanders themselves did pay for their homes and paid for their upkeep?

Mr Johnston: Sure. If you go back in law -- and I'm not a lawyer -- and you look at the annual leases that were the trend as the tent city on Ward's, for instance, started to move towards being full cottages, there is a real question about whether or not any structure belongs to anybody at all and that was a matter of dispute.

When you've been there for 40 years, you built it yourself, paid for it and renovated it in spite of all the difficulties of getting materials across the water etc, then I think you increasingly say: "This is mine. This is my home. I should be treated like anybody else." Island residents, for a long, long time, have believed that and I concur. I think the three parties concurred that it was unjust that they should not be seen to at least own their residences.

Ms Swarbrick: Are you saying that the rationale as to why all three parties have concluded over time that they own their residences, is based on the fact that they paid for the construction of them, paid for the upkeep, renovated them?

Mr Johnston: I imagine it's even more complicated than that. I mean that if you want a community to last there, Anne, I'm not sure how you can have it last and not slip and degrade without people having a sense of ownership, whether that's co-op ownership or whether it's individual ownership. I think it would be highly problematic if you did not confer the structure of buildings as owned by those individuals. I just don't think that would work. I think it is very wise to say that you own your structure.

The trouble with a Perlin-West solution or some of the other solutions is that you can mix the fact that you own your house with the fact that there was high value for the location of the public property you're sitting on; that was the problem as I saw the other formulas. But in terms of the actual integrity of the community, unless you say that somebody owns the buildings that they paid for and renovated, I think you're denying something to these individuals that we would never deny to others who have developed their homes, in that kind of fashion over there, in other places.

Ms Swarbrick: In terms of the issue of the appropriateness of the cost when it's, for instance, presented as $1 a day, just in trying to be clear on the rationale for that, my understanding is that the first rationale is that we're talking there of the cost of the land lease only, not of course of the houses, which we just dealt with.

Secondly, there are clear constraints on what people are entitled to do with their property, which you've touched on, but I wonder if you could just be a little more clear in terms of what those exact constraints are.

Thirdly, I think it's also fair to consider that in the rest of the world, none of us usually pays our mortgages off over a 99-year period, which is what those figures are based on. We usually pay them off more on a 25- or 30-year period. Of course then, if you were to take the value of my house and spread it over 99 years, it would mean far less that I'm paying per day than if I'm paying it off over 25 or 30 years. Could you just comment on those?

Mr Johnston: That was the essential principle in that you're trying to provide a means of providing capital, capitalized lease. You provide the capital for the whole thing up front rather than paying on a monthly basis. There are all sorts of formulas you can look at to show the relative merits in going each way in terms of the income to the land owner. In my view, the major positive in favour of doing a capitalized lease is that you can pay to the public institution the money that it needs up front and, in this case, try to remedy some of the out-of-pocket expenses that the city of Toronto has had over such a long period of time.

If you did it on an annualized basis, then you'd have to do what in fact the city of Toronto council voted to do in the middle of my report, which you may recall. They wanted to move towards an approach which would actually have a monthly lease, right? That monthly lease at market value would have been $1,700 a month, which would have economically evicted a huge number of people on the island automatically and turned it into the upscale, yuppie enclave that Mr Stockwell believes it is right at the moment.

That, I think, would have been a major mistake. The advantage of doing the capitalized thing up front is that the city actually gets its money right up front. There's no more question about it being out of pocket or whatever, and that's why that route was proposed by Perlin-West. It's used in many other major public transactions around the use of public lands.

In terms of the constraints, you can pass your home on to your children as a right of ownership, and to a spouse, but you cannot sell it. If you sell it, you have to tell the trust that your home is up for sale, and it will sell it. They will do it on the basis of its value as a structure, which will essentially mean they take its depreciated value on the one hand, any improvements that have been done, and the reconstruction cost of that home would essentially be the figure that would be used for the formula afterwards. Nancy will go into some of the detail on that if you wish it, but that was the concept. By so doing, you've really essentially limited the cost of your housing to the inflationary rate on the cost of construction materials; that's essentially what you do in terms of that formulation.

Ms Swarbrick: As you've commented before, you're removing the idea of windfall profit that many of us have engaged in throughout Metro Toronto over the last number of years in the marketplace.

Mr Johnston: Absolutely.

Ms Swarbrick: The next question I have is with regard to the references that have been made in terms of the cost, as to whether in fact Metro has paid greater cost per resident on the island than it pays per resident for services in the rest of Metro. I'd like you to comment on that, first in terms of, have island residents all paid their property taxes and income taxes in the same way that the rest of us have or have they not? -- I think it's important to get that clear -- and second, with regard to the services they've received for the taxes they've paid. Could you comment a little further on that?

For instance, I understand that whereas many of us throughout Metro enjoy tax-constructed, tax-paid-for, government-constructed community centres, the islanders have built and paid for their own community centre. You've commented already that there are no roads on the island, and of course along with that, I assume, as we understand, is the fact that the islanders don't pollute the air by the use of automobiles. You've referred to no medical services. There is some allusion made to garbage, and I'm not sure whether there is government-provided garbage collection or not. I wonder if you could comment more about the kinds of services they receive at the taxpayer's expense compared to what the rest of us do.


Mr Johnston: I, of course, do not know who has paid income tax and who hasn't, except I know Bernard paid his. Other than that, for the rest of you, I have no idea, so I can't comment on the income tax. They have the same legal responsibility to pay as any other citizen in the country and can be hounded by Revenue Canada in exactly the same way as the rest of us can be.

On property tax, the same expectation is there that the property taxes should be paid. There may be people in arrears, as there are other people in arrears around Metro these days, probably more and more in the recession, but there's an expectation that their property taxes shall be paid. The person who is the assumed owner on the rolls of the city of Toronto at this point is expected to pay the taxes, as is any other person.

Ms Swarbrick: Has there ever been any boycott of property taxes by the islanders?

Mr Johnston: Not that I know of, no.

Ms Swarbrick: Thank you.

Mr Johnston: In terms of services, I think it's clear that they do not have the same kinds of services we'd expect. I mean, it's as basic a thing as the ferry. The rest of us have access, if we wish it, to other forms of transportation than the TTC. God forbid that we'd use them, but that is possible. If you're not going to swim across, you basically are bound by the ferry, which means that if at 11:15 at night you have missed the last ferry across, you have missed the last ferry across. You talk about this idyllic situation. I talked to some teens over there who didn't think it was so darned great that they couldn't go to the late show at the movies and they had to always go to the early show because they could never make the ferry back. So it's just a basic thing like that which leaves you fairly stranded in a lot of ways.

There is a taxi service that you can try to avail yourself of, there is a capacity to get ambulance care across and police across to the island, of course, but they are not resident there. You don't have the normal kinds of supports that the rest of us would expect in terms of emergency needs for heart patients and others. So those kinds of things are not present. The kinds of support services that we'd expect now in terms of in-house care to the elderly is also something that is not very easy to provide over there, and so the community has actually sort of provided those things itself. As you say, it not only looked after its own clubhouses; it rebuilt its major clubhouse after it was burned down. They've taken huge responsibility for their own areas.

The reason I raised the garbage thing is that when I was over there, a number of people wanted to see if they could make their community the first garbage-free community in the province and to actually take control over that. They have had restricted garbage pickup for some time, and unlike certain parts of Toronto where you find garbagemen walking down your back alley to pick it up at the back of your house nice and discreetly, this community has certainly not had that kind of service in the past.

In terms of other kinds of things, I think you've got to recognize that rather than the TTC fare, they're paying -- or they were paying; I don't know what the new rate is over there -- $2.50 a ticket to go on the ferry, and then they pay for the TTC on top of that. Of course, since they're carless, the vast majority of them have to use it. So they're hit doubly, if I can put it that way, for their basic elementary costs. Of course, in the formulas that we've seen before from the city, they are also expected to pick up $1 million of deficit on the TTC, and that, it seemed to me, was an inappropriate approach.

So I think that by any measure, they don't have the same kind of service that the rest of the community expects, and, frankly, they should never expect to have it. Somebody who's lusting after a spot on the islands, like Steve Offer or someone else from Mississauga might be doing, should think very seriously before they do it --

Mr Steven Offer (Mississauga North): He always took it as a joke.

Mr Johnston: -- because you go without a lot of things. In fact, there's not even a general store on the island if you run out of milk these days.

Ms Swarbrick: My final question is that Mr Stockwell, in his opening comments, made some reference to -- is it a comparison of other people in society living in dumps and yet paying $650 a month? Of course, I don't think that's the responsibility of the islanders, although I do think it's a collective responsibility that we all share in our society.

I'm wondering, though. The concept that you've applied to the island of the land trust idea strikes me as one with tremendous potential that we should in fact be considering as a way to help reduce housing costs in other parts of Ontario. I understand there is a movement behind that, with some degree of success throughout the United States, beginning in Canada. I'm wondering if you can comment about the concept of the land trust in terms of whether you would see its use on the Toronto Island as a model, a pilot, that in fact should then be considered for other application in the province of Ontario.

Mr Johnston: I think it's a variable of what might be looked at, but I think, because there's an existing community there with an existing mix of people of different incomes, that it's a different matter than trying to build a whole new community. So if you had existing public land with people living on it at this stage and some vague knowledge, a sense of their ownership, you might look at it. But I was looking at Seaton, as I know some people used to do; I don't know if they still do around here. I would think that some version of land trusts interspersed in that larger development would be an interesting way to get people limited equity ownership who would never otherwise be able to acquire a home, and it might be an interesting alternative to a straight sort of co-op versus the free house-owning kinds of approaches. I think that could have a major impact on helping to stabilize house prices if you did it in an effective kind of way.

That being said, other than the sort of tantalizing notions of that, I'm not an expert on those kind of matters. I'm not sure what could be some of the downsides of that formula. But it certainly struck me as being an interesting experiment to look at for other purposes and other kinds of developments across the province.

Mr John Sola (Mississauga East): Richard, once again you're very eloquent in your presentation. You certainly are a good salesman for your product, but I'd like to put up a few questions.

You stated that the retirees were putting up with winter conditions, and I think you answered part of the question that I'm going to raise when Ben raised it. I'm going to ask the question about housing standards. You stated that they weren't all up to provincial standards, but I'd like to know what percentage are and whether they adhere to the building code, to the safety standards, the fire code and all those other protections that we have for the public at large.

Mr Johnston: I'd have to look more carefully at Atlin. He looked at this a fair amount, as have other assessments. My sense is, a significant proportion of the homes are not up to standard and would have to be raised to standard, and there are a few that have been surreptitiously raised well past standard over the last number of years when building permits were so hard to get.

My presumption in my report and, I think, in the legislation, if I think clearly about it, is that in fact homes must be brought up to standard. I presume they'll expect that to be done within a certain time period and that part of the cost for people is not just acquiring of mortgage to pick up their capitalized land lease, but in fact will be an extra. I think the average was $20,000 that Atlin talked about during his time for many of the houses that need upgrading. So some people who need that whole mortgage will probably have to go for, say, a $60,000 mortgage in order to be able to bring up to grade within an appropriate length of time for the city of Toronto and then pick up their capitalized lease. I'm sorry, I don't have off the top of my head the numbers, but it is a significant number that this would apply to.

Mr Sola: The reason I asked the question is I can recall in years past reading about stories where certain people had built either additions to their property or built brand-new buildings without building permits and living up to all the latest standards of the province, and yet they were forced to tear down these buildings or these additions. I'm wondering how fair is it that on the one hand people who disobeyed the law are forced to tear whatever they did down, and on the other hand people can be allowed to transgress the law and then retrofit their homes to adhere to the law even though they've lost countless court cases. I'm just wondering whether your solution actually states that the people of the island are somehow above the law.


Mr Johnston: I hope not. I think they've definitely been confronting the law pretty substantially over the last 15 to 20 years. I mean, of course they have. That's what the battle's been about. It's been a philosophical battle around rights of ownership on public lands. That's just what this is all about, so we shouldn't be surprised that there have been a number of interesting tactical battles go on.

But I would say to you that many islanders have had their homes pulled down, some of them because of what were seen to be infractions of the building code, others just because people wanted the buildings out of the way and, as soon as Metro could, it would go in and tear down a building. They were under the threat of homes disappearing all the time. That's why there was the standoff at the bridge when the sheriff's office came. That's what it was all about. So they've had the fear of losing their homes and living on the edge with no certainty that they'd ever get anything back.

I'd remind you that from the mid-1960s on there was no compensation. Anybody who did a repair did it with the total knowledge that tomorrow morning the Legislature and the Metro council and the city council together could just come in and plow the whole place under, which you and I don't expect, my home in the Beaches or yours in Mississauga. They've had that weighing over their heads and people have taken a total risk on this in the past.

Some of the people who've done renovation, I think, once they become sort of legal home owners, are going to have to do some major changes to their homes. That's going to be an expectation, as city hall goes out and tries to say to you, "Sorry, but the stuff you've done surreptitiously over the last number of years just because you didn't want your house to fall down and you had to do something is not good enough and you're going to have to do other things," and that's going to cause an extra burden to those people who've not been using the latest kinds of approaches or have not brought in the proper kinds of structural supports or whatever it may be in their homes. But they've been in an outlaw kind of position over the last decade -- more; two decades -- since they've been fighting to get official recognitions for their right to home ownership and some protection for their community.

By 1990, all parties at this level had agreed to that, the city of Toronto seemed to have agreed to that, and it was only Metro which as a municipal government was not accepting that notion. If we're moving away from that, then that's another issue. And politics moves; that's one of the realities of it. But if that notion is still accepted, once this law is passed, then they're going to conform like all other people. But at least they'll be home owners and have something to hold on to, because at the moment they have nothing to hold on to. Their place can be taken from them.

Mr Sola: As far as that comment that politics moves is concerned, I'd like to point out -- and I don't think I have to -- the fact that David Peterson signed that letter. He subsequently lost the election. I don't think that letter was much of an ingredient in the loss.

Mr Johnston: I never understood it myself.

Mr Sola: Therefore I think the voters may have disagreed with some of the stands that he took and this may have been one of them.

But I would like to make another comment, one that bothers me, about the fact that the city of Toronto passed a motion refusing the mayor to speak with you. I think that is a disturbing notion in a democracy. No matter how far apart we may be in our points of view, the only way you're ever going to solve a problem, unless you use some of the models that are being used elsewhere right now, is through dialogue.

Mr Johnston: I thought it was unfortunate, because I thought they'd come pretty close to the solution on Perlin-West. I really thought that they had, and that if we'd just done some work on that we could have come up with something and they could have taken ownership of it. I think it would've been another very suitable approach.

But the emotions on this issue, John, are very profound on both sides. There have been people who've been feeling harassed as local politicians on this issue for 20-some years, and they hate this issue. They hate seeing the islanders before them again for some other non-conforming uses, I'm sorry to say, as they see it.

I think my coming in from the provincial side of things was seen to be one of those bullying tactics from the senior level that you try to steer away from, but it was felt to be the only way to get this thing solved in the end. I regretted it, but I must say the mayor's office was very good with me, as much as it could be. After the decision was made, they met with me on a regular basis, as did other members of council, to see if we could come up with a means of Toronto becoming a landlord, and it just didn't work out.

Mr Sola: I'd just like one more question.

The Chair: Really quickly. We have one more presenter yet.

Mr Sola: Do you think this agreement can serve as a model for other communities? I've got one in my own riding I'd like to point out. It's called Cedar Grove. It's a mobile home park. As a matter of fact, the description you gave may be practically a carbon copy of the community I'm talking about: 250 homes, around 750 people, mostly low-income and retirees, some of whom have been there for ages, since they took shelter there from Hurricane Hazel, and others who bought into the park just a couple of weeks prior to the announcement that it was being sold to a developer for redevelopment.

The developer is being portrayed as being some sort of ogre, but actually, when you look at it, the developer was straightforward in giving them two years' notice, when he could have waited until he got all the permits to build.

These people are desperate. They don't have the wherewithal to transfer anyplace else. Most of their homes are substandard if applied to provincial standards elsewhere, but because they're mobile -- and many of them have been fastened to where they are so that they're no longer mobile.

I'm wondering whether this could serve as a model. If it can't, how do we justify giving a special deal to the islanders and telling the people of Cedar Grove that they have to live with the changing times?

Mr Johnston: Trying to be consistent is always one of the most difficult things for politicians, I always found. So I'm not sure how you guarantee there's consistency.

My sense is that versions of what I did could apply there. I've actually seen some other models proposed by some non-profit groups for acquisition of private lands, as would be the case there, in a sort of co-op ownership model but with individual equity. I liked what I heard from them as well.

Personally speaking -- I'm not speaking on behalf of the government at all; I'm here as a consultant -- I would say I like the notion that groups of tenants or residents of the kind you're talking about should always be given a shot at trying to assume control rather than be displaced for reasons of development, wherever possible. I personally value community as a major ethical asset of our society; therefore, every way you can try to do that would be a useful thing to do, whether it's private or public land.

But I don't know enough about your community. My precise solution for the islanders may not be the right one for a mobile community base. It might be that there's some other format. But the principle, I think, should apply that people should have a chance to protect their communities wherever possible.

The Chair: Mr Stockwell?

Mr Stockwell: No. I'd just like to thank Mr Johnston for coming forward and giving us some insight. I get the impression that you know you've died and gone to socialist heaven when a committee meets on the Toronto Islands and the government expert witness is Richard Johnston. But I'd like to thank him for the insight.

Mr Johnston: That's my version of what happened too.

The Chair: Thank you, Richard; don't go away. Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: I'd like to now call on Nancy Bardecki, the director of the municipal finance branch at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. She will give some details on the financial and technical aspects of this legislation.

Mr Rosario Marchese (Fort York): Can I recommend that we go to 12:15 so we don't feel pressed by the time constraints and staff can do a proper profile of the issue and questions can be asked?

The Chair: Well, we will go till the presentation is finished. I'm sure most members will be able to stay.

Mr Grandmaître: A 15-minute presentation?

The Chair: Yes. I allowed quite a bit of latitude with Mr Johnston because I thought the committee was interested. It's very difficult to keep these things precisely to the time allocated, and I think this is an important presentation.

Mr Stockwell: This is the explanation of --

Mr Mills: Right.

Mr Stockwell: Better give her about three days.

The Chair: You may commence.



Mrs Nancy Bardecki: I will try to be quick. What I would like to do is outline for you the process which followed the receipt of Mr Johnston's report, as well as explain some of the technical aspects of the bill.

Mr Johnston, in his proposals to the minister, achieved a number of important policy goals. I'll review these for you, although Mr Johnston has done a very good job of outlining many of them.

The residential community would be maintained; no resident would have to leave the island because of insufficient income; the homes would be transferred to those who were found to have appropriate documentation; the residential lands would remain in public ownership; the island homes would be affordable for a mixed-income community now and in the future; the island residents would not make windfall profits from public assets; the city of Toronto would receive fair compensation for expenses it incurred over the years; Metro parkland, to which all citizens of Metro and Ontario and visitors have access, would not be diminished; and there wouldn't be costs to the taxpayers.

Following the receipt of Mr Johnston's report, staff met with officials from the city and Metro as well as the islanders to get their reaction to the report and to identify any factors that didn't come to light in Mr Johnston's report so that we could alert cabinet to these. Then it did go on to cabinet, of course, and as Mr Johnston reported, it was a very delicate balance he had achieved in order to meet all those policy goals at once. It's a very difficult thing to achieve.

Because of this, cabinet chose not to make major changes because, as Mr Johnston pointed out, if you pull one part away, then you sometimes lose some of the other things you were trying to achieve. So the changes that were made were done only after taking very careful consideration of the impact of these changes on all those other policy goals the government was trying to achieve. We did consult with Mr Johnston and the other stakeholders involved to help us in assessing the impact of those changes.

The key policy change made by the cabinet and government towards Mr Johnston's report was that the residential lands were transferred to the province rather than remaining in the hands of Metro. This was mainly because Metro did not wish to remain the land owner or landlord if it couldn't control the stewardship of the lands: concern about liability and other issues.

Also, the prices of individual land leases increased from $30,000 and $40,000 on Ward's and Algonquin islands respectively to $36,000 and $46,000. These increases were required to provide additional revenue to the community trust to assure its financial viability, to increase the revenue for the city of Toronto, as it wasn't getting as much compensation in other ways under the new arrangement, and to provide some revenue to the province, which would now be having to take over responsibilities as landlord.

In considering the increases, care was taken to select a price that would not impose too great a financial burden on residents or on a co-op trying to develop new co-op housing.

The final major change was the division of proceeds from the sale of land leases. Under the proposed regulation -- this isn't in the bill, but it is part of the policy -- it will be 60% to the province and 40% to the vendor, rather than 20% to Metro as the land owner, as it isn't going to be the land owner any more, 60% to the vendor and 20% to the community trust. The community trust will now be able to take a fee for service on the sale of homes instead of receiving a share of the proceeds, and the division I just outlined will provide greater revenues to the province to help it carry out its responsibilities as landlord of the lands.

Just to refresh your memory on the legislative process, the minister announced the government's intent to pass legislation on November 27, 1991. Initial consultation then took place with the islanders, the city and Metro on a proposed bill. Bill 171 was introduced for first reading on December 19, 1991.

Following the introduction of the bill, a number of technical concerns were raised by various stakeholders: the islanders, the city of Toronto and Metro. We had to take account of these technical concerns, and it was discovered that they were certainly legitimate and worthwhile concerns to take into account. Mr Mills has already outlined for you the main policy change between the first first-reading bill and the second first-reading bill that contained mostly technical changes. The policy idea is still in place.

Anyway, now I would like to get on to some of the technical aspects of the bill and explain how the important policy goals that I outlined initially are achieved through this bill.

First of all, the residential community being maintained: This is done by the transfer of residential lands to the province under subsections 2(1) and 2(2) of the bill. The establishment of a community trust to manage the lands is established under section 11 of the bill. The 99-year lease of the lands by the province to the trust under section 16 of the bill and the subsequent leasing of individual lots to residents under sections 17 and 19 of the bill will provide stability to the community. The viability of the community is enhanced by the provisions for additional housing under section 19 of the bill. The requirement of the municipalities involved -- that's Metro and the city of Toronto -- to maintain services to the community at today's level, except where levels increase or decrease throughout the whole of those municipalities, is outlined in section 5 of the bill.

With regard to the goal that no resident would have to leave the island due to financial circumstances, this is achieved by the reasonable price for the land leases under subsections 17(3) and 17(4) of the bill. Incidentally, these reasonable prices take into account the restrictions on resale.

Loan guarantees for existing residents to compensate for the fact that the security available to lenders isn't the security available for conventional mortgages: It will take lenders some getting used to, to become comfortable with the type of lending that will be required for a land-lease property. Those loan guarantees are provided for under section 18 of the bill. Also, to ensure that there are no economic evictions, so to speak, there will be a 25% deferral on the price of an initial land lease for needy seniors. That's outlined in subsection 17(4) of the bill. Finally, provisions for the establishment of a co-op for those who can't afford or do not wish home ownership is outlined in section 19 of your bill. By the way, this co-op will work under the same programs and legislation and have the same accountability arrangements as other co-ops in the province of Ontario.

With regard to the goal that structures would be transferred by the minister to those who were found to be entitled -- that's under subsections 7(2) and 8(4) of the bill -- a commissioner will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor in Council to make recommendations to the minister on who is entitled to ownership. That's under subsections 7(3) and 8(1) of your act.

In order to ensure that the island homes will remain affordable for a mixed-income community, as I mentioned earlier, there is provision for a co-op under section 19 of the bill and there is stringent control on the sale price of the structures and the land leases. This is found in section 17 of the bill, section 19 of the bill and sections 22 and 23 of the bill.


Island residents won't make windfall profits from public assets, another important policy goal. Mr Johnston has explained the process that has been put in place to ensure that won't happen. It's quite an elaborate process. The prices for the structures and the prices for the land leases will be defined in the regulations, and the regulation-setting authority is set out in sections 17 and 19 and 22 and 23 of the act. Since the prices defined in the regulation may be below what market level would be in the absence of strict controls on the resale price, a mechanism to ensure that this occurs in a fair manner is necessary. This is done by having all sales take place through the community trust. Again, that's defined in sections 17, 19, 21, 22 and 23 of the act.

The community trust must sell the homes to individuals on an established list. That's the line in section 25 of the bill. This list will be some variant of first come, first served. In addition to helping to ensure that there are no windfall profits from public assets, this process of sale procedures helps to give all members of the mainland public a fair chance at becoming island residents.

It was mentioned earlier by Mr Johnston and Mr Mills that I would explain the formulae which are not in the bill but which will be in the regulation. I believe you all have a copy of the draft regulation.

First of all, talking about the land lease, the initial land lease price for Ward's Island -- we'll take that example -- is $36,000. If, in the fifth year, say, this land lease was sold -- along with the structure, but we're just dealing with the land lease price now -- we would escalate or adjust the value of the lease by the rate of inflation. Then we would look at the remaining book value of the lease, and keep in mind that the book value of the lease declines every year, because it's a 99-year lease and every year we get one year closer to the time the lease will be over, so we have to adjust the book value of the lease to take account of that fact.

The vendor gets 40% of the new lease price plus 60% of the remaining book value of the lease. What the province receives as the landlord is the new land lease price minus what the vendor gets. In the fifth year, if we had an inflation rate of 5%, the new land lease price adjusted for the inflation would be up to $40,517 from the initial $36,000. The remaining book value then would be $34,545, to take account of the fact that five years of the 99-year lease period has expired. The vendor's share would be $36,934 and the province's share would be the difference between the $40,517 I just outlined and the $36,934.

In terms of the structure, there is also a definition in the regulation of how the price of the structure is to be determined. What is done there is that the house is appraised. This is done by an official appraisal method -- I think the regulation will probably specify that it's the observed condition breakdown method of appraisal -- and this will be done by a qualified appraiser. In addition to the appraised value of the house, there will be an equity factor added, and this equity factor is to take account of the fact that over history, real estate markets have been such that the inflation of real estate has been greater than general inflation.

This equity factor isn't anywhere close to what the historical experience has been in terms of the amount by which real estate inflation has exceeded general inflation, but anyway, this is to partially compensate the people on the islands for the fact that they aren't able to participate in real estate capital gains the way people who own homes on the mainland are able to do.

The Chair: Ms Bardecki, if I could interrupt for a moment, it's been indicated to me that some members, especially on the government side, have a commitment at noon. Is your presentation to take much longer?

Mrs Bardecki: I can make it very quick. Another five minutes should handle it.

The Chair: Is that suitable?

Ms Swarbrick: It's just that the government caucus has a memorial for Margery Ward; that's why.

The Chair: I wasn't aware of that.

Mr Marchese: I think 10 minutes we can handle.

Mrs Bardecki: I'll quickly explain the equity factor. It's 1.5% of last year's appraised value plus last year's equity factor, which is plus 3% of last year's equity factor. It works out to approximately 1.5%; it's just slightly larger. As I say, that's to account for the fact that people on the islands aren't able to participate in real estate capital gains as home owners on the mainland are. We believe the special price formula and the community trust will avoid any windfall profits by island residents on publicly owned lands.

While we're talking about prices and profits and so on, and gains from publicly owned lands, I'd just like to outline for you some of the costs the islanders can expect to pay for their shelter.

First of all, someone on Ward's Island will have to amortize the cost of their lease purchase. If we take a 25-year amortization, that will be about $330 monthly. The cost of upgrading the structures to fire code: As we discussed earlier, these structures are going to have to be brought up to fire code or, as Mr Johnston outlined, some people have paid fairly high prices for these structures, up to $140,000 in some cases, I've heard. But let's take a figure of about $50,000, either for the initial purchase price or the upgrade that people may have to do to bring their homes up to fire code. Amortizing a $50,000 figure over 25 years would add another $447 to the monthly cost for shelter of island residents. That will be about $777 a month altogether, and residents will continue to have to pay property taxes just like every other home owner does in Ontario.

Mr David Turnbull (York Mills): Can I ask how much that will be, approximately, on the island?

Mrs Bardecki: I'm sorry I can't tell you what the average property tax bill is. Some island residents, perhaps, would be prepared to share what their property tax bill is with you. I'm afraid I don't know, though.

They'll have to pay regular sewer, water, heating and hydro charges like the rest of the home owners in Metro do. Another cost they will have, though, is a special sewer and water cost amounting to about $530 a year to compensate the city of Toronto for the investment it's made in sewer services over to the island.

I should also point out that residents of the island also have higher transportation costs than, say, people on the mainland would do. They have about an extra $50 a month or possibly even more, depending on how frequently they travel, in ferry costs, in addition to what the rest of us spend on TTC.

Mr Grandmaître: What about seniors on low incomes? How can they afford this?

Mrs Bardecki: They may not be able to, if they don't have sources of income other than government pensions and so on. That is why the co-op was put in place for those who could not possibly afford the types of costs we were talking about there. If you're familiar with the co-op program, there is a rent-geared-to-income portion of that program. We believe that will help those people who simply can't possibly afford the kinds of figures we're talking about for home ownership here.

Mr Grandmaître: How can you form a co-op with a home here and a home there?

The Chair: We will allow questions when we finish.

Mrs Bardecki: That's not the conventional style of co-op, but it is quite possible, and I believe the existing co-op on the island is looking into that.

Anyway, on to the city of Toronto. Another one of our goals is that the city of Toronto would be compensated for the expenses it incurred over the years. It will receive about $12 million through its share of the sale of land leases. This is outlined in section 17 and section 19 of the bill. There will be the seniors' deferral, as outlined in sections 22 and 23 of the bill, but eventually the city will receive the money.

The city will also receive about $1 million -- the specific amount will be defined in the regulation -- for a portion of its initial capital outlay for the sewer and water services via a special sewer and water surcharge levied on islanders over 15 years. This is outlined in subsections 5(3) and 5(4) of the bill. This isn't as much as Toronto has paid to Metro plus interest, or as much as the city of Toronto wanted, but I think we have to recognize that Toronto had the right to recoup the cost of its payments to Metro via charges on the island residents and, for one reason or another, chose not to do so.

Also, with regard to the sewer and water expenditures, the city of Toronto earlier had chosen not to charge established communities for the cost of sewer and water services other than individual hookup. Even paying it the roughly $1 million is compensation for the fact that the island community is special and perhaps more costly to service in that nature than other communities.

While it isn't addressed in the legislation, I'd just like to remind you that Metro's parkland will not be diminished in that negotiations are under way now for Metro to be receiving some lands presently owned by the province to be used as parkland. Further, I'd like to point out that mainland visitors to the island will still be able to use the public buildings, soccer fields and so on in the residential community lands; and furthermore, these facilities will be maintained by the community trust and the islanders through that trust.

With regard to the fact that taxpayers won't have to shoulder a burden under the proposal outlined in the bill, in fact the province, as land holder, will share in the initial land lease sales and also, as I explained, will receive some of the subsequent land lease prices. We believe this should more than cover the costs of administering the provincial responsibilities outlined in this bill.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll adjourn now and will return at 2 o'clock. I'm sure the ministry will be available, especially through the clause-by-clause, to answer specific questions to the clauses; members will have an opportunity to put relevant questions at that point. Thank you very much for appearing. We're adjourned.

The committee recessed at 1212.


The committee resumed at 1409.

The Chair: This afternoon we will be hearing presentations. Just so everyone's aware of the ground rules, I will indicate how long each presenter has. That will vary from half an hour to 15 minutes, depending on the allocation by the committee. You may make your presentation and then, for members' information, we will ask questions in rotation, and I will allocate the time very carefully.

Mr Mills: I wonder, Mr Chair, before we get to the next presenter, if I can clear up something my friend asked this morning about the official plan. It will just take a minute. You asked, Bernard, whether there will be an official plan prepared for the islands. Over the lunch-hour my assistant spoke with the minister, and he has determined that there is no new official plan required.

Mr Grandmaître: No official plan is --

Mr Mills: No new official plan is required. The official plan coverage is under the city of Toronto already, the Toronto official plan for the areas of the islands where houses are located, so as such, no new official plan will be needed. It's covered.

Mr Grandmaître: Then can we be provided with that part of the official plan of the city of Toronto?

Mr Mills: Sure. I see no reason why not. Mr Grandmaître: I can't see the city of Toronto having an official plan for the islands, when there's a lack of service, no roads, the area hasn't been surveyed and so on and so forth. Can we have that section of the official plan?

Mr Mills: We'll do our best to provide that.


The Chair: I would like to welcome Russell Mawby from the co-op housing society. Sir, you have half an hour allocated by the committee; as I mentioned before, the committee appreciates some of that to ask any questions. You may introduce yourself for the purposes of Hansard and begin.

Mr Russell Mawby: Thank you very much. My name is Russell Mawby, as mentioned. I should clarify that the organization I represent is called the CoHousing Society. We're not affiliated with the co-op federation or the Cooperative Housing Association of Ontario. In the course of my presentation I'll describe what we are affiliated with, so I'd like just to begin. First I'd like to thank you for the chance to present to this committee.

I'm here today because I believe the Toronto Islands stewardship act offers an excellent way of dealing with the apparent conflict between housing and parkland on the island. I also wish to point out that while this discussion is specific to what's happening there, it also has great significance for looking at housing and development issues in general, issues that are becoming more and more urgent every day. By looking at how this legislation relates to all of us, I hope to offer this committee a further reason to approve this bill and to institute this important and forward-looking act.

I was asked to speak today because of my involvement with a group called the CoHousing Society. To begin, I'd like to tell you about what we do and what our interest is in the debate about the island homes.

I founded this society in October 1991 to promote cohousing, or collaborative housing, to use a broader term, an idea that is long established in Denmark and now beginning to gain interest here. In short, cohousing involves a group of people getting together to plan, design, develop and manage their own small housing projects. It seems like a simple idea. After all, people have been building their own houses since civilization began. But what is important here is that these people want to do their building within a group.

In many ways the proposed islands land trust is similar to these Danish cohousing groups. The land is held in common, but with provision for private ownership of individual units. Resale and tenure options are decided by the group, as is the physical form of the project.

Cohousing can be as simple as tearing down fences to share a six-lot-long garden, as has already happened in North Toronto, or as complicated as the two groups in the city who want to restore existing buildings to suit their own housing needs. It sounds like a cross between a condo and a co-op, and in many ways it is. The main difference is that collaborative housing groups don't wait for others to build for them. They feel that the best people to initiate and manage a project are the people who are going to live there.

The key to this idea is that a group shares its resources in order that everyone will benefit. It works because of the scale of the enterprise. It is not a faceless "everybody," but one's friends and neighbours that one shares with. At least one group here in Toronto has already built shared office space for themselves, complete with a fax machine and photocopier: things they could not afford to do individually.

As the driving force behind many cohousing communities is to build a better place for children, many projects include spaces that can function as informal day cares. Some projects also include shared kitchen and dining facilities so that the burden of having to work and then come home and feed a family can be shared by a greater group of people. Other shared facilities could include workshops and studios, water and energy conservation systems, and more efficient waste and recycling facilities: things that would be difficult or impossible for single households to take on. The list is limited only by the imagination of the people.

So why are these people willing to tackle zoning bylaws, planning processes and land acquisitions? Because as a society, we don't usually build the kinds of spaces that encourage or even allow the sharing of resources. We don't usually make places that seem like good places to raise children. We don't usually make streets or corridors that encourage friendly, casual contact between neighbours. These things are judged to be not cost-effective or not marketable. It boils down to deciding that if no one else will do it for us, then we'll do it for ourselves.

I think that questions about ownership of private and public land are at the heart of things like collaborative housing and land trusts. Certainly the issue of private ownership of public land is at the heart of this debate, but is not limited to the situation on the islands. We're all living with this dilemma every day.

When you step out of your front door or off your property, you're on public land, land that is supposedly owned by all of us through our town, city, region or province. The problem is that there is an enormous gulf between land that is owned by everybody and land that is owned by me. If the range of ownership is between mine and everybody else's, then there's no immediate connection between me and you. We are finally beginning to recognize the problems created by this wide separation of public and private life, and we're questioning whether we can afford the costs, whether economic or social.

In the past few months, both the Crombie commission and the Sewell commission have presented papers that show us, among other things, that we have to begin to accept that rivers and watersheds flow across property lines. We are finally beginning to realize that all land is public land; it belongs to all of us in the sense that we all have to accept and understand our collective responsibilities for the private ownership of our land. We have to acknowledge that what happens on my neighbour's land directly affects me and vice versa, whether my neighbour be a person, a farm, a town or a region.

I propose that this is the real benefit of land trusts. They make this connection to the immediate community visible and apparent. They establish a level of ownership between private and public. Land trusts let me relate to my immediate community of a few hundred, rather than some idealized community of thousands or millions. Land trusts establish a common ground on which to build the supports and sharing that make communities vital and alive.

Some 25 years of experience in Denmark proves that land trusts do work. Now there is a growing desire in Canada to create the kinds of spaces the Danes have enjoyed all this time. There are more than 500 people across the country, including 15 groups around Toronto, from all walks of life, who have told us they feel the need for this way of living. They want to re-establish the connections they feel have somehow been cut. They still want a place of their own. They just don't want it to be at the cost of being alone, for the good of themselves, their families and the environment as a whole.

Yet on the Toronto Islands, we already have a community that has many of the characteristics that these other groups are working hard to re-create. The very fact that this committee is here today indicates that there is general agreement that the Toronto Islands community is a place worth preserving. One reason the islands are special is that they have not had to suffer the whims of modernist planning that created the sea of suburbs those other commissions are now trying to figure out what to do with. Another reason, of course, is geography. Whatever the ideology or income of any resident, there's one thing they all have in common, and this is brought home to them every time they step out their front doors.

The Toronto Islands stewardship act recognizes this commonality, this community, both implicitly and explicitly. This act places the responsibility for the land directly in the hands of the community that has to live there. It establishes systems, such as resale to the trust, that remind people that they're only temporary custodians of their property. It recognizes the different needs of individuals within the community by encouraging co-op renters to live side by side with home owners without stigma and without creating specialized enclaves of income or family demographics.

It builds a base for understanding how each individual depends on the support and services of others, one's neighbours, not some nameless, faceless mass. It encourages these residents to continue to help each other work out solutions to their own problems. It will help this community, which has come together in adversity, to continue to work together for the betterment of all.

It is not a private windfall of public land. The speculation that has destroyed most of the prime land around Toronto will not be allowed to destroy this valuable public resource. Something that the Crombie and Sewell commissions made quite clear is that if we are going to tackle the development problems that face us in other parts of this province, we have to find ways to promote a connection to the land itself, not just the appraised value. After all, a community is much greater than the sum of its land values.

This is perhaps the major lesson I think we can learn from the islands land trust. It can show us a way to close the gap between how we live on our own property and how we live in the community. This act is a good first step towards that, and for that reason alone is worth implementing.

The road to Bill 61 has been long and difficult, with many compelling economic and political arguments both for and against the stewardship act. By showing you how and why other people in other places are trying to redefine how they live, I have tried to present some social and perhaps psychological reasons why the islands homes are worth preserving, for their own sake as well as for the sake of others.

In summary, we all know what the problems are in the way we have built our housing and developed our land in the past. Here is an opportunity to try something new, to take an already special place and make it better. Let's not settle for merely making it just the same as all the rest.


Mr Grandmaître: Mr Mawby, I think our party should go on the record that we don't oppose co-op housing or cohousing. We think it's a great way of providing affordable housing to a lot of needy families. But at the present time, I think we are faced with a serious problem when we're dealing with the islands. I was involved in the very first co-op created in Canada in my own riding, so I'm quite familiar with the co-op housing programs.

But now let's talk about the problems that this province, this government is faced with. You mentioned the John Sewell report or the John Sewell commission. This government is determined to improve the planning of our communities. The province or the government wants to get involved in planning, yet at the same time the minister wants to acquire, through the John Sewell commission, more powers. In other words, if there's a provincial interest in a development, in a project, then the province will declare its provincial interest and it will become the planner. The Toronto Islands will be owned by the government, definitely, absolutely. There will be a provincial interest.

Mr Mawby: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: This is why we're asking such questions as zoning bylaws, official plans, the floodplain and so on and so forth. Those are our reasons. We're not telling you that we're against co-op housing; far from it. But I think you'll appreciate that the types of questions we are asking today are very important questions because of the Sewell commission and everything else that's going on in the future planning of this province. I just want to make sure that you understand where we come from or where we stand.

Mr Mawby: I do understand and I think the key you've mentioned is community-based development. That's the buzzword that's being floated around. I think that both the Crombie commission and the Sewell commission are fully aware that one way or another, the people who have to live in the developments we build, whether it be the province or the municipality or individuals, should in some way be given a chance to have input.

The Ministry of Housing, for example, in its Consultation Counts paper, has stated that it's trying to foster tenant management of all its non-profit housing projects, if possible, and is now trying to find ways to implement these mechanisms. I don't think the fact that this land is owned by the province takes away from the fact that there are people who have to live there. They should have some input in what happens, and I think for me that's where the benefit and the power of the stewardship act really work. The word "stewardship" to me connotes responsibility on the part of the people who have to live there and the people who own the land, and it's a responsibility to each other as well as society in general.

Mr Grandmaître: Have you made this type of presentation to the federal government? As you know, they want to get out of co-op housing.

Mr Mawby: The CMHC is very aware that there are groups out there, non-profit housing groups and private individuals, who are very interested in pursuing ideas like this.

The Chair: Mr Stockwell or Mr Turnbull. No more questions? Thank you very much for appearing before us today.


The Chair: The next presentation will be made by the city of Toronto, by Dennis Perlin, the city solicitor. Good afternoon, gentlemen. Welcome to the committee hearings. You've been allocated one half-hour by the committee to make your presentation. You may commence your presentation by introducing yourselves for the purposes of our Hansard recording.

Mr Dennis Perlin: Thank you, Mr Chairman, and members of the committee. I'm Dennis Perlin, the city solicitor for the city of Toronto. With me is Ward Earle, who's an articling student in our office and hopefully in a week or so will be called to the bar and join those at the bar.

I believe you have in front of you a copy of the brief from the city. It's about 14 pages long and has two schedules attached, one that has financial data with respect to the position of the city and its argument for compensation and a second schedule that has a summary of the changes city council is suggesting in the bill. I'm not going to read all of the brief, although I will read from a couple of sections because I believe it presents the city's position in the best summary fashion possible.

When Richard Johnston first presented his report, which I understand is the basis for this bill, city council indicated its opposition to the suggestions in the report and to the first versions of the bill. However, city council at its meeting on January 11 last considered this matter again, and having been informed that Bill 61 had been introduced and was being referred to the standing committee, decided that further objection to the general principle of the bill would not be worthwhile.

Rather, city council has taken a position now that if the bill is to proceed, then there are certain matters that city council would wish this committee and the Legislature to consider before passing the bill. The brief therefore shows acceptance of the bill and deals strictly with the concerns that city council believes could be and should be addressed before the bill is finally passed.

There are three areas, which I would break down as technical issues, financial issues and planning issues. There are essentially five technical issues we would ask the committee to turn its mind to, if you would, and address.

The first technical issue we speak to in the brief is that while the avenues and walkways are being leased to the city for 99 years, the necessary rights of way or easements for Toronto Hydro to provide electricity to the residential community is not provided for and we are suggesting an amendment to provide for a 99-year lease of those rights of way required by Toronto Hydro for its purposes.

The second technical point we raised in the brief is a proposal for an amendment that makes clear that even though the avenues and walkways are only being leased to the city for 99 years, as opposed to being transferred to the city, the rights and obligations that go with public highways, we understand, are to fall with the city.

It's the city's belief that the Municipal Act requires ownership of avenues and walkways to permit their dedication to public use and therefore to attach the usual rights and obligations respecting repair, cleanup etc. Therefore we are asking that a provision be included in the bill, as has been the case in other legislation where the city has received leased lands for the purposes of highways, to allow the leased lands to be dedicated and used for public highways even though the ownership is not being given to the city.

The third technical issue relates to the fire service. The bill provides for two areas to be leased to the city. One area is to be leased to the city for the present fire hall and a second area is to be leased to the city for a new fire hall.

The technical point regarding the existing fire hall is that it presently provides that the lease will end 60 days after the fire service begins at the new fire hall. For logistical reasons, the fire department has suggested and city council has now recommended to you that the 60 days be increased to six months in terms of the time needed for a changeover to the new site.

With respect to the site of the new fire hall, there are presently studies under way and I understand you had some discussion on that this morning, related to flooding and erosion issues on the islands, and those studies will likely ultimately determine whether the new area to be leased to the city can be used for the construction of the proposed new fire hall on terms acceptable to the city or not.

Our first point related to this new fire hall site issue is that the site should be prescribed by regulation as opposed to being put in the act. The site could then be changed more easily to another location if it is finally determined after the flooding and erosion studies are complete that a new location is necessary.

The second point with respect to the new fire hall site is that the present bill only provides a three-year window from the time the bill is passed for the city to build and occupy the new fire hall; otherwise, the lands proposed for the new fire hall are immediately leased to the island trust.

The city's suggestion is that the time frame be extended to five years as we believe it is likely to take at least another year or so before the final determination on the matters related to flooding can be resolved such that the city knows it can or can't proceed on the present proposed site for the new fire hall. If that site has to change, then it would take two years or so for the necessary budgetary and planning approvals to be obtained. Then it may take a year or so for final design, tendering and construction, so while even five years may be close, we believe that five years is more realistic than three.


Those are the technical issues we wanted to deal with. The next area is -- I'm sorry; there are a couple of more technical issues related to the level of municipal services.

The fourth technical area in dealing with the level of municipal services deals with the need for clarification in the bill that as the life of the new trust begins, the level of municipal services to be provided to the community is that level of service which is being provided to the islands themselves, not the level of municipal services that may be provided elsewhere in the city or Metro. I understand that was the intended meaning of the present subsection 5(1) of the bill, but it can be read in two ways and we are seeking clarification that the services to the islands themselves are to be at the levels they were in 1992, and that this is the starting point for the future provision of municipal services to the community once the bill passes. In the brief, you'll see an example I gave with respect to the fire service that makes it different there than other communities in the city.

The second issue that we believe needs clarification is what happens where service levels increase or decrease in the city or Metro. We are asking for clarification in the bill that where there is an increase or decrease in the level of service for the rest of the city for city services, and in the case of Metro for Metro services, then such increase or decrease, as the case may be and as appropriate, should apply to the island community as well.

For example, in Toronto on April 5, garbage collection, which in 1992, the date for the bill, was twice a week, will decrease to once-a-week collection, and that should be the level of service that should be provided to the islands as is the case with other communities in the city.

The fifth technical point relates to the sewer and water local improvement type charges. In the early 1980s, the city installed a sanitary sewer system and an upgraded water system to the Toronto Islands and under the present legislation, which is to be replaced by Bill 61, the islanders were to pay basically on a local improvement basis for the capital cost of that new sewer and water infrastructure.

Because leases were never finalized between the city and the islanders, the repayment of the capital debt for the new sewer and water infrastructure by the islanders never took place. Bill 61 recognizes that and provides that there is to be repayment, but that payment is not to be the be-all and end-all for sewer and water payments on the islands. People there are still expected to pay their normal water bills for normal day-to-day water consumption and water service and their normal sewer surcharge bills for the usual sewage treatment and collection services, sewer impost and sewer hookups for new buildings.

I'm told that everyone understands that, but there is a need to clarify that by changing subsection 5(5) of the bill to ensure that despite the collection of part of the outstanding sewer and water capital debt, the normal water rates, sewer surcharge, sewer impost and new sewer connection charges will still be chargeable and collectible.

The other technical point relates to ensuring that the annual capital payments for sewer and water charges or local improvement charges are indeed paid. The present method within the city for the collection of local improvement charges is that they are put on the tax bill and can be collected in the same manner as taxes if they go unpaid. There's no such mechanism in Bill 61. I'm told that it would be a difficult mechanism to use on the islands and so our suggestion is that subsection 22(11) be used to ensure that where at the time of the sale of any house there is an outstanding sewer and water local improvement charge, that amount would have to be repaid at the time of such resale before the proceeds of the resale are given to the house seller by the trust.

Those complete the technical points I wanted to raise with the committee. Let me turn now to the financial issues.

There are three financial issues that the city wishes to raise with the government and with this committee. The city believes that these issues must be addressed if there is a sense of fairness in terms of dealing with the past and moving on to the future.

It's important to remember the origin of Bill 61. It comes out of a need that was accepted by all political parties in the province and proffered by the city and by the islanders that the 1980 legislation, the existing legislation, was not the answer, was not fair, was not complete.

I have in my file back at the office letters from the leaders of all three political parties indicating their commitment, particularly to the islanders, that changes would be made in the 1980 legislation, and those commitments came through the 1980s and were the primary reason, in my opinion, having been personally involved in some of the discussions, why the city and islanders were not able to reach any agreed-upon lease agreement to 2005 under the existing legislation, because there was continuously an indication from those at Queen's Park that the 1980 legislation would be changed.

Why did it need change and how should it change? Mr Johnston was commissioned to look at that issue, and he produced a report in which he put forward the mistakes of the past, as he saw them, and how to deal with them.

One of the issues he dealt with was the ferry service. The ferry service is a Metro service. The city, under the 1980 legislation, was required to pay the deficit plus 50% of the ice-breaking costs. Mr Johnston recognized that that was a mistake and that the city should be repaid for whatever it had incurred with respect to the ferry service deficit and it should not be responsible for any costs related to that Metro service in the future.

The city agrees and therefore believes that a new subsection 5(6) should be added to the bill that is in front of you to require Metro to repay any deficit moneys paid or incurred by the city, which to this date amount to $1,341,635 --

Mr Stockwell: How do you say it with a straight face?

Mr Perlin: It's tough with him sitting here -- or if not Metro, then the price for the purchase of the land leases should be increased to the islanders by an amount which includes that past ferry service deficit.

If the province is not willing to have Metro or the islanders repay the city for the past ferry deficit then the brief suggests the province should, and if that will not be done, then at the very least the situation should be clarified in the bill, indicating clearly that the city need pay nothing further after the Johnston report was filed in May 1991.

There has been a recognition in the bill that no further rent should be paid after the May 1991 report and that first rent payment due thereafter was to be in December, and you can see in the bill that that rent payment is not to be made. We suggest that is the date that should be put in in terms of no further responsibility for the ferry service.

The sewer and water local improvement: The city, as I said before, installed a new sanitary sewer system and an upgraded water system. That was supposed to be repaid by the islanders on a local improvement-type basis. That amount has not been paid, and by March 31, 1993, with interest, as you'll see on the financial schedules attached, it will reach $4,119,138. If that were to be repaid in the normal course, then it would be done annually over 15 years at the rate of interest of 7.15%,, namely $466,935.60 a year.

The city is informed, and I see now, having just picked it up, that the regulation will only require repayment of $1,012,293, a shortfall of $3.1 million. Thus, the city's proposed amendment in the brief before you to subsection 5(3) would be to allow the city to impose $466,935 a year for 1993 and 14 years thereafter on the island homes. The city would then break that total amount down equally each year to the number of homes available for that year to pay that amount.

Again, the brief states that if the province is not prepared to impose that amount on the islanders, then the province itself should make up the differential. The city taxpayers should not be called upon to pay for the provincial solution.

The initial purchase price for 99-year land leases: The most significant issue in terms of the three financial areas deals with the initial purchase price for the 99-year land leases. The idea of the city collecting moneys from these initial land lease sales is so that the city can be repaid the rent that it incurred in paying Metro from 1981 onwards towards the lease of the islands to 2005. These were then to be subleased to the island home owners in an amount which would recover the rent to be paid to Metro.

The amount that has been expended or notionally incurred, together with operation costs and reflecting interest since 1980, is $16.628 million. That would include the amount for the ferry service. Fairness demands that any solution put forward to the island problem as per Bill 61 includes making the city whole, to the tune of $16.628 million.


Section 17 is the part of the bill that deals with the sale of the land leases, and subsection 17(3) stipulates the purchase price for the land leases sold within one year of the act coming into force. It is urged that these subsections be amended to include these increased lease prices, and those increased lease prices, in order to reflect the full repayment of the $16 million, would be for Ward's Island, for the occupied leases, $51,730 instead of $36,000, and for Algonquin Island, $66,570 instead of $46,000. For the vacant leases on Ward's Island it would be $51,730 instead of $36,000 and on Algonquin Island, $51,730, as well, instead of $36,000.

It's only this way that the city can be compensated for its accumulated deficit in relation to the operating expenditures. This concept of a fair land lease has been in the past the subject of negotiations between the city and the island community, and in 1990 it was accepted that the city must be able to recoup its operating costs while at the same time not economically evicting the islanders.

The situation is no different today. The province's loan guarantee program should be used to ensure that the city receives fair compensation and that no islander is forced to leave his or her home due to an inability to afford the lease.

By putting a limit on the total amount of the loan guarantee program, the province is forcing the city to be the bad guy in a situation which could be resolved amicably and equitably. The city taxpayer should not be asked to subsidize, either directly or indirectly, costs which should be paid by the islanders. So we set out the changes therein that would change the dollars.

If the province is not prepared to amend the bill to increase the prices, then the province itself should agree to reimburse the city for the difference between the total proceeds from land leases purchased by the islanders and the cooperative housing corporation under the legislation in the total outstanding amount either for recovery of rent or sewer and water capital costs.

We believe that this proposal is a logical one given that the province, not the city, will receive a share of the proceeds upon resale of the leases. Any restitution paid out by the province initially will be recouped over time through the repeated sale of the properties in the future. So we've put in an alternate amendment, section 18, that would see the province pay the differential if it's not to be added to the lease prices.

In terms of the discrepancy in the proceeds from the sale of the leases, the final financial point to be raised is that even if the city is not reimbursed the total amount it is owed, the city should at least be assured that after the $2,500 to the trust and the $1,000 to the province are paid, the city does get the $32,500 or $23,500 on Ward's and the $42,500 or $31,000 on Algonquin. Thus, you would see a proposed change to try and ensure that in the brief in subsection 17(11).

The final point I want to cover in the couple of minutes I have left is the planning issue. First and foremost, our suggestion is that the Planning Act should apply to the Toronto Islands and that section 29 of Bill 61 should be deleted.

Mr Stockwell: Right on.

Mr Perlin: I ask you to turn to the bottom of page 12 of our brief. First, with respect to the issue of subdivision control, exempting the island lands from the subdivision control provisions of section 50 of the Planning Act could have a detrimental effect on the future use and development of the island lands. It is submitted that the desire to allow the islanders, through the trust, to retain control over their community does not require that the safeguards and planning principles at the heart of subdivision control requirement be sacrificed.

Presumably, the issues which the trust would consider in dividing the land into lease lots would be similar to those embodied in subsection 51(4) of the Planning Act, including such things as conservation of natural resources and flood control, adequacy of utilities and municipal services, land to be conveyed for public purposes, energy conservation, the effect of the development on matters of provincial interest and the public interest, the number and width of highways, dimensions and shapes of lots, and building and use restrictions. With such a system of development control already in place, it is submitted that it makes no sense to require the trust to reinvent the wheel.

Subsection 29(2), the Planning Act exemption, states that the Planning Act is not to apply to the construction of houses on such lands which are vacant on the day the proposed act comes into force and the use for residential purposes of such vacant land. It is not clear, however, whether the city is to maintain zoning control over lands on which structures exist at the time the act comes into force or in situations where the trust demolishes a structure after the day the act comes into force.

It is suggested that this confusion and the concerns over the trust as a regulatory body could be avoided if the city were allowed to maintain total zoning control over the island lands, subject to the requirement that it observe a provincial policy statement pursuant to section 3 of the Planning Act related to the Toronto Islands which allows the minister to determine or declare any matter to be of provincial interest. Under the Planning Act, the minister could also ultimately control the zoning process in any event by the declaration of a provincial interest and/or a provincial zoning order. In this way, special principles could be articulated for the islands without totally abandoning the normal planning scheme established by the Planning Act for zoning control.

If this suggestion were followed, subsections (1) through (4) of the present bill could be deleted and the following substituted:

"In exercising its powers under the Planning Act in relation to the lands described in the schedule, the Metropolitan corporation and the city shall have regard to any provincial policy statement passed by the minister pertaining to those lands."

It is assumed that as no mention is made of lands occupied on the day the act comes into force, those lands are subject to the city's zoning control. If this is the case, it must be pointed out that the proposed bill will create a situation whereby two planning authorities exercising two different sets of planning regulations will be operating within a relatively small area. The results, it is submitted, could be both inequitable and confusing to the islanders and would tend to defeat the purpose of a unified planning scheme.

The final point in this area is that we would suggest, if there's going to be no change, at least a right of appeal from a community decision, a trust decision, where an individual claims he or she is particularly hard done by. Our suggestion there is that there should be an appeal mechanism. We set out a couple of alternatives in the bill as to whom an appeal could be to, but we come down in the final submission to you to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Every other citizen has the right of appeal. Indeed, those living in existing houses where the zoning bylaw will continue to apply will have a right of appeal, but not when a vacant lot beside them and/or in their area may have, as they see fit, some detrimental effect on them. They could be beside a vacant lot and some regulation is put by the trust in terms of what could be built, in terms of height, use or density. The person in the existing house covered by the city zoning bylaw, even though impacted by that which is next door to him, will not have a right of appeal because that decision is being made by the trust.

One further point -- it's more of a technical point -- is that in terms of the minister's power under the Planning Act, we are suggesting there should be some clarification of that role in subsection 29(3).

Those are the comments we would make to you. We make them in a constructive way and we hope you'll look favourably upon them.

The Chair: Thank you for a very constructive brief.

Mr Stockwell: Just a couple of questions. First, I guess the city of Toronto still hasn't figured out that it got fleeced in this whole deal, so it's still making its appeals. Surely the taxes the islanders have paid in the past 10 years have offset some of your costs.

Mr Marchese: By how much? Is that what you want to ask, Chris?

Mr Stockwell: It's just a question of --

Mr Grandmaître: Just recouping.

Mr Stockwell: Yes. You must have recouped a considerable amount of money, considering they've been paying taxes for the last 10 or 15 years. Surely that's offset some of the costs you've outlined here today. Quite a bit of it is interest, so if it has offset it, could you give me an idea about how much you've collected in the last 10 years in the way of municipal taxes?

Mr Perlin: I'll have to undertake to get you the answer in terms of the amount of the taxes that have been paid by individuals on the islands. We would argue that the amount of the taxes paid goes for city services per se. Very little would have gone towards the rent payments to Metro. As you can see, our major submission to you today relates first with respect to the rent payments, to try to recover all that from Metro, and then a pittance of that would have been in the usual tax bill. I appreciate that in every tax bill, when we pay Metro, something would have been charged, but it would have been a very small amount. You're sitting for the next couple of days. I'll undertake to get you the amount of the taxes.

In terms of the sewer and water, even when we're collecting the sewer surcharge, local improvements are separate and therefore nothing has been paid.


Mr Stockwell: I understand that. If you could get me that information, I'd be really curious to see that.

Mr Perlin: Okay.

Mr Stockwell: Second, I'm at a loss to understand why they're exempted from the Planning Act. This is an unusual step. Have you seen this in the past at any time, where a specific subdivision is excluded from the local Planning Act and the local authority, which literally everyone else in Metropolitan Toronto has to live under?

Mr Perlin: I'm not aware of situations other than those the province itself has put under zoning orders and that sort of thing, or special planning areas like the parkway belt or the Niagara Escarpment. So I'm not familiar. This is the first time I've seen that.

Mr Stockwell: Nor am I. I've never seen it either. I was just curious to see if you'd ever seen it.

The last point I'd like to ask you about, having sat on local council and Metro council for a number of years and dealt with some of the issues on the islands with respect to the homes, the other issue seems to be the fact that it's a floodplain. I recall the city of Toronto has a policy that you can't build on a floodplain. We're going to talk about putting up a cooperative housing project of some 100 units on a floodplain. Has your council dealt with that at all and considered the ramifications involved in that decision?

Mr Perlin: Those matters are normally left for the conservation authority per se in terms of, before getting a building permit, what the conservation authority would permit; or if not by the conservation authority, it would normally be dealt with through the subdivision control process. So there's been no direct dealing with that. I should indicate that before the matter went into the bill etc, city council was looking at whether the addition of homes would be acceptable and, if so, on what basis, but there's been no formal position taken by city council.

Mr Stockwell: One last question. Considering the fact that I don't think you have a snowball's chance in Hades of getting the money out of Metro for the revenue loss, I doubt the islanders are going to come up with the money and frankly I'd be shocked if you got a nickel out of Floyd, what recourse do you have to collect your $16 million?

Mr Perlin: The rest of the city taxpayers.

Mr Stockwell: They will pick up the tab?

Mr Perlin: That's right.

Mr Mills: Mr Perlin, thank you very much for your presentation. You know, but the committee members don't, that Municipal Affairs has only had these amendments in its hands for about two weeks. We are and have been meeting with city officials even as late as Friday to come up with a solution to some of the things you've placed before us. I can say that at the present time, we are drafting technical amendments intended to clarify or improve the proposed legislation as you suggest. That's an ongoing task.

Mr Stockwell: So you've got to check on that.

Mr Mills: Pardon?

Mr Marchese: Does it have your picture?

Mr Mills: Hope. Thank you.

Mr Marchese: I have a cynical response to your concerns on planning. I used to live at Harbour Side co-op, Queen's Quay, Bathurst and Lakeshore area. If that is the kind of planning the city does, I can tell you we have serious problems. There is no community centre there, there is no store in the area and there are no services at all to the community, child care or day care. There is no school nor was any school ever planned. If I think of those kinds of planning activities that have gone into those complexes of Cityhome and other co-ops, I seriously worry about the kind of planning we could do in the future. What is your response to that kind of planning versus what you might be recommending?

Mr Perlin: In terms of the Queen's Quay and Harbourfront area, it's important to remember that those lands were federal and came to the city by way of the federal government. We had to negotiate with the federal government in order to achieve a residential community in that area and it had to be along the terms that were acceptable to the federal government. All that planning, Mr Marchese, always involved the obtaining of lands from the federal government for community purposes.

Indeed just recently the zoning bylaw for Harbourfront was redone after the zoning order. We've got the new zoning bylaw in place and a new agreement between the city and the federal government with respect to the disposition of the lands, especially in the area you're talking about in Queen's Quay, that will see the lands there come for a community centre.

It's a primary part of the city's capital budget coming forward in 1993, and as soon as the environmental work is done, that site at Bathurst and Queen's Quay will see a community centre and a school. Some might argue that should come ahead of it rather than behind it, and that is what's happening in the railway lands.

All I can say to you is that the point is that those community facilities are going to come, but I don't think that means you get rid of the Planning Act situation.

Mr Marchese: No one's suggesting that.

Mr Perlin: There are appeals to the Ontario Municipal Board that are available if people feel that the planning isn't being done properly and there are ways of obtaining services, as has been the case, through the councillors of that area, who have pushed very hard for the facilities and have been successful in that.

Mr Marchese: Dennis, let me just say that I recognize the inconsistencies of the two positions, of the zoning bylaws applying to the existing homes and not applying to the new homes.

I just have to say from my personal point of view that I have trust in the trust's stewardship of this. I also want to add that they will be directly accountable to the ministry in this specific regard and I'm confident they will do good planning as it relates to the new housing.

Let me ask you with respect to the ferry deficit --

The Chair: Thank you.

Mr Marchese: Mr Chair --

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Marchese: Could we have a sense of how we're going to deal with it? Do we have time for one question as it proceeds? Is that it?

The Chair: I divide the time equally among the three caucuses. That is how much time you have. Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Grandmaître: No special privileges.

Mr Perlin, I was told a little while ago that the official plan of the city of Toronto includes the Toronto Islands. Can you briefly explain to me what the official plan is for the Toronto Islands?

Mr Perlin: I've asked for the document to come down, but it does reflect the type of uses that are presently there. Perhaps what I could do for you is, rather than me doing that at this point, I heard you say it earlier and I called for a copy and it's coming over right now, so perhaps I can leave it with you when it comes.

Mr Grandmaître: Do you know, Mr Perlin, the Municipal Act prohibits municipalities from bonusing? Would you call this kind of deal bonusing?

Mr Perlin: Strictly speaking, in terms of the Municipal Act, no, I don't, because I don't see it as a commercial, industrial or business enterprise. The trust is a non-profit.

Mr Grandmaître: I'm not going to argue with you, I'm not a lawyer, but the Municipal Act --

Mr Perlin: Deals with bonusing related to commercial-industrial-business enterprises, not residential.

Mr Grandmaître: It could be land.

Mr Stockwell: They don't have a term for this. This is not bonusing.

Mr Grandmaître: Bonusing is bonusing.

Mr Perlin: I'll leave that with you. You being a former minister, I hate to argue.

Mr Stockwell: This is even better than bonusing.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Perlin. I hope your colleague is called to the bar and that he will notify us as soon as possible. Thank you for appearing, gentlemen.

Mr Perlin: Thank you very much for the time of the committee.



The Chair: The next presentation, William Roedde. Good afternoon, sir. I apologize in advance for not knowing the correct pronunciation of your last name. You have 15 minutes allocated to you by the committee for your presentation. If you'll introduce yourself for the purposes of the Hansard recording, you may begin.

Mr William Roedde: Thank you, Mr Chair. I appreciate the opportunity to appear before the committee. My name is Bill Roedde and I've lived on the Toronto Islands for 34 years. There are 74 islanders who are over the age of 60 living on the island and we've formed a group called the Toronto Island Pioneers. This is because we've seen a lot of history. I sometimes think we've seen more history than we really wanted to.

We've been active in, for instance, the Ward's Island Association, which provides wonderful recreational programs, the Toronto Island Residents Association when it was formed 22 years ago, the rebuilding of the Algonquin Island Association clubhouse which burned down a few years ago, and two pioneers received an award from the city of Toronto last year for creating a wonderful garden in the park near their home. I mention these things to indicate our involvement in the community, and our concern not just for the community but also the park.

There has not been the growth in the use of the park that we would perhaps have expected, and we were talking the other day about an idea that might encourage people to use the park. For instance, we've often seen, at the Ward's Island dock in the late fall or winter, visitors who are shivering at the dock -- they've just missed the boat and another boat isn't going to arrive for another hour or perhaps two -- and we got the idea of establishing a drop-in centre.

The old rectory is used in the summer for city seniors but it is empty and unused, as some other buildings are underutilized, and we talked about establishing a drop-in centre there. We'd have signs up to indicate to visitors that they could come, we'd have hot coffee, we'd have posters and photographs of island history, we'd have books and magazines, we'd have comfortable chairs, we'd have pleasant chats, and I think this would encourage people to use the park.

Too often there are crowds of people using the park on a hot summer Saturday or Sunday waiting for tickets and waiting to get on the boat, and then on a Monday I'll cycle across the island and in some cases, in the late fall, I won't see a single visitor. It's become a place to go in the summer, and even that perhaps a little less, because there's certainly less swimming than there was before we heard the word "pollution" as much as we do now, unfortunately. So the idea of a drop-in centre is something we could achieve perhaps in the old rectory and perhaps next year.

In the 1970s we actually did something like this: We encouraged people to come to island homes. I was lucky enough to have Jane Jacobs drop in to my house -- she is of course a strong supporter of the island community -- and a couple of birdwatchers, who told me more about island birds than I had ever known. We are a community that encourages use of the island in all its aspects, and of course Mr Johnston has made a number of recommendations to encourage that.

I mentioned that we have witnessed a lot of history. It's rather unfortunate to realize how very inadequate the political process has been over the last 40 years. I think the Johnston report and Bill 61 represent a welcome change from the past. It's discouraging to realize how wasteful public policy has been. It has been to tear down houses, increase expenditure in the park, harass the remaining islanders, and all with the result of a decreasing number of visitors and an increasing ferry deficit.

It shouldn't have taken too much in the way of understanding to see that in the postwar years, there were improved recreational facilities in Metro Toronto and beyond, a great increase in automobile use, better public transport, a big increase in the use of cottages and travel holidays. With all this, it was unlikely that the use of the park would increase to justify the policy of tearing down the community and spending a lot of money on the park.

The Swadron report in 1981 was nearly 600 pages of analysis and information, but its recommendations simply resulted in a few hundred islanders remaining under difficult and uncertain conditions. How welcome it was when Richard Johnston recommended an enlarged community, ownership of our houses and 99-year leases. Four decades of indecision and waste are coming to an end.

We pioneers have talked about the bill. I think essentially we're positive about the bill. We did recommend that subsection 17(4) be amended to provide for deferral at age 60 and above, because we have a few members who are low-income and are just short of that magic 65-year age.

I would say that our position is a positive one. We have the positive feeling that we, mostly senior citizens, will be able to remain on the island and that years of uncertainty are coming to an end. There are examples, even in the last few years, of efforts to encourage visitors to the park. I mentioned the beautiful garden that two Ward's Islanders made. I think too of the Montessori school, which is a wonderful experience of children coming over to use the rebuilt Algonquin Island clubhouse, and of course the nature school at the public school. When we pioneers get our drop-in centre going and this new housing and utilization of now-vacant buildings, the island community and the park will have a bright future. Thank you for your consideration.

The Chair: Thank you. Questions?

Ms Swarbrick: Mr Roedde, some of the things you were saying lead me to ask you a question regarding something I've heard about. In terms of the stewardship of the islands by the residents, I've understood that you've added a fair bit to the islands by your presence there, including, at one point, even someone having saved the life of someone who would have drowned otherwise, had it not been for the residents on the islands. Could you comment on that, in terms of how you see the community having improved the island park by your presence there in that way?

Mr Roedde: I'd be glad to. Yes, it's true that a life was saved by an islander. Also, I was talking a few weeks ago to a former islander who now lives near High Park, and she said that when she went out in the evening on the island she always felt safe, but in High Park she does not feel safe. Now, this isn't just because the islanders are there making Toronto Island safe. I suppose you could also argue that deranged people don't go to Toronto Island for one reason or another.

But I would say that a strengthening of the community is welcome to visitors in any park, that people coming to the community are interested. I've had people simply stop and ask something like, "Where's the farm?" and then we get talking. They're from Buffalo, and they think it's just great, they think the houses are great, and they might even get over to one of the clubhouses. The sense of a park and a community is a very positive and human thing to them. So yes, I think we can make a contribution.


Mr Turnbull: I wonder if you could tell me briefly how you came to acquire your house in the first place and how much you have paid for it over the years.

Mr Roedde: Yes. I came to the island in 1958. I was living in Thunder Bay, and I got a job with the civil service, the department of education. My boss was Angus Mowat, who, you may know, is Farley Mowat's father. He was the director of library services, a small branch in the department of education, and he said, "I could rent you a house on Toronto Island." At the time, I was living up in Thunder Bay, or Fort William, as it was then; Fort William and Port Arthur. He said, "I could rent you a house on Toronto Island or on Fulton," and I picked Toronto Island.

Mr Turnbull: Did he own the house he proposed to rent to you?

Mr Roedde: No. He was simply looking for accommodation for me and my family.

Mr Turnbull: How much did you pay?

Mr Roedde: I can't say what the rent in 1958 was, but living in the rented house, I found that the house right across the street was on sale for $6,000, and that's what I paid.

Mr Turnbull: You paid $6,000 when?

Mr Roedde: In 1958.

Mr Turnbull: In 1958. So you rented it for a period?

Mr Roedde: No. I rented a house that Mr Mowat found for me for the summer, and while I was renting there and getting into my new job, I discovered that the house right across the street was for sale.

Mr Turnbull: Under what circumstances did you pay $6,000? What were you buying for that $6,000?

Mr Roedde: At the time, I was very uncertain about the future.

Mr Turnbull: No, I'm asking what you were buying. I'm not asking how you felt about the future. What were you buying for $6,000?

Mr Roedde: I was buying a house with three bedrooms --

Mr Turnbull: Are you suggesting you were buying it fee simple for $6,000?

Mr Roedde: I'm not sure what you mean by "fee simple."

Mr Turnbull: Were you buying the land?

Mr Roedde: No, of course not.

Mr Turnbull: So you were buying the building that was on the top, on leased land.

Mr Roedde: And I knew that the lease was to expire in 1968. I knew that, but I did not know whether it would be renewed or not. The whole drama of the controversy came later.

Mr Turnbull: But presumably you had a lawyer to check this out.

Mr Roedde: It was not possible to check out anything other than that the leases expired in 1968.

Mr Turnbull: So you knew there was no guarantee beyond that time.

Mr Roedde: Yes.

Mr Turnbull: So you bought it for $6,000, and over the last 10 years, how much have you paid to occupy that leased land?

Mr Roedde: I'm not sure what the lease was, to tell you the truth, or how much I've paid over the years.

Mr Turnbull: Have you paid anything over the last 10 years?

Mr Roedde: No, certainly not over the last 10 years.

Mr Turnbull: You haven't paid anything over the last 10 years?

Mr Roedde: No, we have not been asked for any lease over the last 10 years.

Mr Turnbull: Did you at any point refuse to pay?

Mr Roedde: No. As a matter of fact, there was a period when we didn't pay; this was in the 1970s. Then they said, "Okay, come on, drop into city hall and pay," and we did; most of us anyway.

Mr Turnbull: What about the ones who didn't?

Mr Roedde: Those who didn't, I really can't speak for them.

Mr Turnbull: Are they still on the island?

Mr Roedde: I don't know.

The Chair: Thank you, sir, for coming today. We appreciate you trekking over from the island.


The Chair: Jon Caulfield, good afternoon. Welcome to the committee. You've been allocated 15 minutes for your presentation. You've been here for a while, so you've seen more or less the way we operate. If you'll introduce yourself, you may commence.

Mr Jon Caulfield: I certainly won't use 15 minutes, so maybe you can devote more time to Professor Gibson. My name is Jon Caulfield. I'm a member of the faculty at York University; I teach urban studies there.

I've been following the island controversy for more than 20 years, first as a member of the city hall press gallery and then, more recently, as an academic, and I welcome the opportunity to do this. It's not something I've ever done before, and I think I'm doing it because of my strength of feeling on this particular issue.

I support the bill for two reasons. The first I would describe as almost historical. There was a time in this city, not very long ago, when we tore things down. We tore down old neighbourhoods, we tore down old buildings, we tore down old communities, because we viewed them as impediments to progress, standing in the way of what we viewed as the future and the way of progress. To name a few: Alexandra Park, St Jamestown, Regent Park, Parkdale, King-Parliament. In Parkdale alone, we took out 140 houses to create the area where the Gardiner Expressway runs through the bottom of the community. In King-Parliament, we tore out 170 houses to create the area where the Don Valley on-ramps come from Richmond and Adelaide streets. I could go through neighbourhood after neighbourhood, community after community, where we simply tore things out. That was the approach we took to city planning.

Some time around 1970 -- probably many of you know some of the history of this, so I'm not going to recite it -- our attitude changed. No longer do we view these places as impediments to things like high-rise projects and public housing projects and expressway projects and other kinds of big visionary projects -- you know, clean-sweep planning -- because someone had a bright idea for a big visionary project. It's a fortunate thing we did, because if we hadn't, Chinatown wouldn't be here today, the Annex wouldn't be here today, Kensington Market wouldn't be here today, Queen Street West wouldn't be here today -- neighbourhood after neighbourhood.

It's interesting to look at the clean-sweep planning maps. You go back to 1970 and look at the planning maps and you have one area that's just orange because that's going to be high-rise projects, and one area that's just purple because that's going to be commercial, and one area that's just green because that's going to be parks. That's a very simple-minded approach to planning.

Talking about parks leads me to the topic we're here about today. One of the bright, visionary dreams of the era was to complete the renewal of the Toronto Islands park system as a regional park by removing about 200 homes on about 29 acres -- if my memory serves me well, that's the figure -- a perfectly good neighbourhood that threatened no one's enjoyment of the park.

Today we take a very different attitude towards old neighbourhoods. We don't see them as impediments to progress. We try to protect existing communities, the existing urban fabric. I think most of us would find it hard to imagine Toronto today without Chinatown, without Kensington Market, without the places that almost were torn down. In part, I look on Toronto Island as being this little leftover piece of history because of its peculiar legal status, strung along year after year. Because of its peculiar legal status, all these other areas are protected now by urban policy but Toronto Island remain threatened. I like Bill 61 because Bill 61 completes this little era of Toronto's past history of demolishing its urban fabric.

The second reason I support the bill has to do with the traditional nature of the island housing as affordable housing in a city where we constantly seem to have a dilemma about moderately priced housing. Paradoxically, as we have grown, as we have developed, as we have become more wealthy, housing affordability has become more of a problem for more people in Toronto. Bill 61 safeguards the affordability of island housing. It ensures that we will not have a repetition; I would not be sitting here today if that wasn't there.

If what I saw here was the possibility of what's happened in, say, Donvale -- or what the real estate agents like to call Cabbagetown. I don't know if you know this, but Cabbagetown doesn't exist. It was torn down; that's where Regent Park is. What the real estate agents like to call Cabbagetown is the neighbourhood called Donvale. Back in about 1968, when a writer named Jim Lorimer wanted to look for a working class neighbourhood to write a book about, he picked that neighbourhood. He called it Working People. Within six years, seven years, of course, it was the highly gentrified, white-painted area that we know today, with its little cabbage flag. They eat a lot of spinach salad over there and everything's sandblasted.

I wouldn't be here supporting this legislation if those safeguards weren't there. I think that's absolutely fundamental, that the affordability of that housing be protected.

Above and beyond that, the bill provides for the creation of about 80 new units of non-profit housing in and adjacent to the community and I think that's nice. I think we've learned the lesson that we should seek to create social housing not by creating low-income ghettos, but by trying to have mixtures of housing such as we have in a place like St Lawrence, so I think this is good.

Bill 61 seems to me to sustain an old neighbourhood and do so in a way that directly addresses the housing affordability issue in Toronto. I support it. That's all I have to say.


The Chair: Does anybody from the official opposition have some questions? Mr Turnbull has, from the Conservative Party.

Mr Turnbull: Perhaps you can help me because I must tell you that when I first came to live in Toronto, I was quite a supporter of the idea of continuing to have residents on the Toronto Islands. I've had serious questions since then.

I want to go through the two parts of your presentation. On the one hand, your discussion about the widespread demolition of older neighbourhoods: I agree with you; I think one of the great tragedies of Toronto is that we have lost a lot of our old architecture. I always think back to, I guess it was 1970, when we knocked down the old Toronto Sun building, which was a rather handsome-looking building, and lost a little bit of Toronto's history. It seems to me, when we're talking about the Toronto Islands, that to the best of my knowledge, there isn't much which has any architectural merit.

Mr Caulfield: I don't see the word "architecture" mentioned here anywhere. The word mentioned here is the word "community." I'm not speaking about Kensington Market or Chinatown or places like that as places where there's architecture. I subscribe to Jane Jacobs's view that we don't seek to keep old buildings because they're pretty or cute or nice old heritage buildings. We keep old neighbourhoods because those are the generators of certain kinds of social diversity and economic activity in cities. Those are the natural building blocks of urban life. Nowhere here have I mentioned architecture. That's not my concern at all.

Mr Turnbull: When we look at the Toronto Islands, it is a very unusual situation. We have quite a lot of people there who have very, very good incomes and we're giving them a giveaway. You talk about affordable housing. The question is, affordable for whom? It's affordable for the people who happen to have got on to the islands for whatever reason in the last few years, and from all of the numbers that I have seen -- not the ones that were presented this morning -- it appears that many of the residents of the Toronto Islands have got on to the islands within the last few years in the full knowledge that they may be moved.

In point of fact, you now have a situation where you're going to create extra co-op housing where, if we were to take those lots which are available among the people who've moved in, say, in the last 10 years under these peculiar circumstances and haven't paid rent, and if we were to put those out on the open market to lease for 99 years, I suggest we could have an awful lot more money available to help people who are truly in need of housing subsidy. Plenty of the people who are on the Toronto Islands are not in need of any subsidy, but this is a direct subsidy to them.

If anybody suggests that by capitalizing a lease on day one, it in some way mitigates the fact that it's a giveaway price, I don't accept that and I'd just like your comment.

Mr Caulfield: That's a nice speech. To get back to my presentation, I drew a parallel between Toronto Islands and Donvale or neighbourhoods like Donvale in Toronto where the speculative market allowed what had been affordable housing or middle-class housing, or in the case of Donvale, working-class housing to rise completely out of the grasp of the people who had grown up in that neighbourhood.

I have read the legislation. As I say, I wouldn't be here today if that wasn't there, and I've read the legislation fairly carefully. I can't sit here and quote for you the percentages and this, that and the other thing, but it's very clear to me that this legislation prevents the possibility of speculative gain on the houses by individuals living in them. You will not have a repetition of the kind of, say, flipping process that occurred in neighbourhoods like Riverdale through the 1980s. You will not have a repetition of the gentrification process and that is what, to me, is important in this legislation.

Mr Turnbull: You're talking about the flipping, which you obviously disliked, but the fact that if people got on to the islands, didn't pay any rent for the last 10 years, now get to buy their house and they can now deed it to their children, isn't that just as controversial as any flipping?

Mr Caulfield: I think the reasons they didn't pay rent for the last 10 years are somewhat complex. They're somewhat embroidered into the whole history of the islands.

Mr Turnbull: I'm fully aware of that. but nevertheless they haven't paid, and the suggestion has been that there's something wrong with charging them for past rents for that.

Ms Swarbrick: Mr Caulfield, perhaps just following on that last point, are you aware whether or not the residents on the Toronto Islands were ever served any bill to pay over the last 10 years that they did not pay?

Mr Caulfield: As far as I know, they weren't. As far as I know, there was some talk about trying to do something several years ago and nothing came of it.

Mr Turnbull: Could I just ask a question? They don't even pay --

The Chair: Mr Turnbull.

Ms Swarbrick: Yes, I didn't interrupt you, Mr Turnbull.

The Chair: Ms Swarbrick.

Ms Swarbrick: My understanding, Mr Caulfield, was that in fact islanders asked had on a number of occasions what their rent would be, but were in fact never given a bill to pay by the city of Toronto and that --

Mr Caulfield: As far as I know, for the last several years, they haven't, no. I remember there was some talk about trying to do something about paying the money several years ago and they didn't see any place to put the money.

Ms Swarbrick: As I understand it, our government's rationale for not giving the city of Toronto everything it's asking for in rent is the fact that the city of Toronto -- I didn't get a chance, unfortunately, to ask Mr Perlin that question, since there's a limitation of time here, but I had wanted him to ask the question why they never had issued any bills for that rent.

Mr Caulfield: I don't know. My concern here is --

Mr Grandmaître: The building permits. They couldn't get any.

Mr Caulfield: My concern here is a real good community that I see absolutely no reason to eliminate.

Mr Stockwell: Neither do I. Just pay your way like any other good community does.

The Chair: The Chair is having difficulty in following this conversation. Perhaps just between the presenter and Ms Swarbrick would be helpful.

Ms Swarbrick: Sorry, Hansard. Thank you, Mr Caulfield. That's all.

The Chair: Are there further questions? We have three minutes left. Mr Sola has a question.

Mr Sola: I don't know who to pose this to, but I think Mr Turnbull raised the question that our fact sheet gives us one statement and we've heard several other statements that contradict --

The Chair: Is this to the presenter or this a question of general interest?

Mr Sola: Maybe the parliamentary assistant could answer it or maybe the presenter. On our fact sheet, for the year 1982 it says: "The Supreme Court of Ontario rules that island homes belong to Metro Toronto," and here's the important part: "Islanders refuse to pay rent; city begins paying rent to Metro on their behalf. City has collected no rent for the past 11 years." What I'm asking for is some sort of clarification so that we can get to understand whether the islanders refused to pay rent, whether they were not asked for rent -- we should be speaking the same language.

Mr Caulfield: I think you have to ask that question of an islander or somebody who's more intimately familiar with the last 10 years of legal history than I am. The question I can answer is, do we have here a healthy, traditional, settled community of more than 250 households that for no reason on earth should be threatened? No, they shouldn't be threatened. Is there the threat that this community will become something other than it is, a bunch of beach houses for well-to-do yuppies if this legislation passes? No, because of the way the legislation is written, that will not happen. This neighbourhood will retain largely the fabric that it has.

Mr Sola: That first question was actually supposed to be directed to the parliamentary assistant but I'll ask you this question. I see you're in the urban studies program at York University. As such, I wonder how you can support a projected construction of housing on a floodplain.

Mr Caulfield: My understanding is that this hasn't been resolved yet, that the original place where that housing was mapped in may or may not be a floodplain. I don't know.

Mr Grandmaître: It is part of the official plan.

Mr Caulfield: It may or may not be a floodplain. My understanding is that there is some sort of effort under way to try to locate that housing in places on the island that are not floodplain. I don't know.

Mr Stockwell: They don't conform to the urban Planning Act.

Mr Caulfield: Mr Stockwell, do you want to ask me a question or do you want to ad lib?


The Chair: Before I call the next presentation, maybe we should remind the committee of the way this works. The questions go to the presenter. No one else should be interjecting. It's very helpful, especially to Hansard.

Mr Grandmaître: Oh.

Interjection: Is that new?


The Chair: Mr Sola did present a question.


The Chair: Let's have some order. It's still early in the afternoon.



The Chair: The next presentation will be from Dr Sally Gibson. I believe all members have a copy of the presentation. Good afternoon. Welcome to the standing committee. We've allocated 15 minutes to your presentation. You may introduce yourself and commence.

Dr Sally Gibson: My name is Sally Gibson and I live on the mainland in the city of Toronto. I have no direct financial or property interest in the Toronto Island community but I have a deep emotional interest in seeing that the community lives on. The Toronto Island community is very much a part of my city and my life and I want to do my best to help it continue to flourish. I believe that passage of the proposed provincial legislation would accomplish that end.

My involvement with the island began about 20 years ago when I was hired by the city of Toronto's planning department to work on its report about the future of the then-threatened island community. Shortly thereafter I devoted a number of years to writing a PhD dissertation for the University of Toronto about the still-threatened island community, a dissertation I called Sense of Place -- Defense of Place: A Case Study of the Toronto Island.

Not content to leave the subject alone, I then proceeded to write a 300-page, heavily illustrated book about the still-threatened island community and its environs. My book is called More Than an Island: A History of the Toronto Island, which was published in 1984. I don't know who would like to take it, but I'd like to give a copy to the committee in the hope that it might help you understand --

Mr Grandmaître: It's mine.

Dr Gibson: I can sell other copies to anybody at a reduced price.

The Chair: It's your copy to share.

Mr Stockwell: Could we get her to sign it after?

Dr Gibson: The joy of an author.

I hope it will help you understand why the Toronto Island community is such a distinctive, important and cherishable part of Toronto. I would also like to give you a copy of a 1986 article that appeared in the American magazine Landscape which provides a brief history of the island community. It's just this small one.

The subject is a complex one, as you all know, since the island and the island community have a long, frequently controversial history. Other experts can discuss the legal, financial, administrative and environmental implications of the legislation if they wish. In the brief time allotted to me, I'd like to concentrate on the underlying purpose of the bill, which is "to provide for the continuation of the community on Algonquin Island and Ward's Island." To do this, I would like to discuss five themes that have emerged from both my experience and my study of the island.

(1) People have lived on the island for over 150 years. They should continue to do so.

Long before there was an official park, there were residents. The first year-round island resident was probably J.J. Radelmüller, who was the first lighthouse keeper. Radelmüller moved to the island, or peninsula, as it was then, around 1809, when the tallest free-standing structure in little York rose at Gibraltar Point. There are those who say he is still there, haunting the lighthouse and providing a good story for teachers to tell city students who visit the natural science school on the island.

In the 1830s and 1840s, along with the first hotel keepers, came the island fishermen, who built their houses out of driftwood. Among the early fishermen were the Hanlans and the Wards, whose names are still associated with the island. It was a tough life, but the fishing families displayed the independence, determination and environmental awareness that we associate with today's islanders. They were also public-spirited. When ships foundered off the island, they launched their fishing boats and saved literally hundreds of lives. William Ward, for example, was credited with saving 164 lives.

In 1888 the year-round community was large enough for a school to be built near the site of the present school. By this time, the winter community was augmented by the caretaker of the Lakeside Home for Little Children and by the island park superintendent, who looked after the island park at Centre Island, which was officially opened that year and still forms the nucleus of the island park system.

Meanwhile, the summer community grew apace, including tents, first at Hanlan's Point and later at Ward's Island, small cottages everywhere, hotels, boarding houses and the mansions of such well-known Torontonians as the Masseys and the Gooderhams. Summer islanders, like year-round islanders, lavished attention on their houses and their property, filling in the marshy areas, planting gardens of resplendent diversity and creating architecture of immense variety and imagination.

It's worth noting that during the latter part of the 19th century and the early part of this century when there was a rich assortment of residential and recreational uses on the island -- baseball, amusement park, hotels, regattas and so on -- more people travelled to the island than is the case today. The ferries were larger, more frequent and more numerous.

The 1930s brought the airport and the removal, by flotation, of about 40 cottages from the western sand bar to what is now Algonquin Island.

The year-round community increased dramatically during and after the Second World War when there was a severe housing shortage. Summer cottages and hotel rooms were winterized, new, year-round houses were built, especially on Algonquin Island, some by returning veterans. The baby boom reverberated on the island and was reflected in the rapid growth of the island school, which reached a peak of 587 students in 1954-55.

While it is impossible to give a precise figure, the winter community probably numbered around a couple of thousand people at the time Metro took over in 1956 and began its island clearances. By the time the demolitions were halted, over 400 houses, hotels, churches, stores and community buildings had been wiped out. Virtually nothing except memories remains of the old Hanlan's Point and Centre Island communities. The only, and therefore especially important, link with the island's residential history is the current community of 250 households.

(2) Communities are important.

The island community should be preserved not only because it's historic, but also because it's a good community. It's all too easy to destroy communities; it's not easy to create them. Here we have one of Toronto's most successful communities and we should treasure it.

What is a good community? I think it's a place where people feel they belong; where they share values, experiences and goals; where they help one another; and, yes, a place which they defend and protect when it is under threat. Internationally respected urban thinker Jane Jacobs touched on this point over 10 years ago on July 1, 1980, when she addressed a large outdoor rally in favour of preserving the island community. She said:

"This community shouldn't be destroyed because it's lovable. It's unique. It's a lovely thing. It's wicked to destroy lovable, unique and lovely things When people defend a place the way you islanders are defending this, that's the greatest argument of all. It says, `It's worth saving.'"

That was true in 1980, and it's true today.

(3) Diversity enhances the park.

Far from detracting from the park, the island community, which sits on the edge of the park, complements it. Contrary to general opinion, when the island was transferred from the city to Metro in 1956, it was not clear that park meant no houses. Islanders never protested the transfer, feeling that Metro would be a better landlord than the city had been. Metro Chairman Fred Gardiner had cycled across the island and suggested that there was room for both park and residents. Virtually every plan ever presented for the island since John George Howard's initial plan in 1850 had proposed residential as well as recreational use.

Significantly, when Metro was first debating what to do with the island when it got it, the late Hans Blumenfeld, who came to Toronto in 1955 and became a world-renowned planner, wrote a strong report in favour of retaining the houses. He wrote in part:

"Far from being incompatible, residential use enhances the attractiveness of the island for recreation. The houses, generally pleasant but architecturally undistinguished, and the gardens form an agreeable varied backdrop to the beaches, playgrounds and parks. The life of the residents, people puttering in their gardens, children playing etc, add a human touch. Without the residences, the island would be a less interesting place."


I was astounded to discover from Mr Blumenfeld's 1987 autobiography, Life Begins at 65, that he had shown his 1955 report to Metro Parks Commissioner Tommy Thompson who initially "agreed that the houses were an asset more than a liability." However, when challenged by the all-powerful Metro chairman Fred Gardiner, Thompson backed down and supported the demolition of all island houses. "I felt betrayed," Blumenfeld wrote. "I had lost my first battle at Metro." Islanders too felt betrayed and suffered the consequences. Before the bulldozers were halted at Ward's and Algonquin islands, over 400 houses and community buildings were demolished.

Unfortunately, the pure park concept became something of an idée fixe in the minds of successive generations of Metro politicians and park planners. Today, however, no progressive planner would suggest tearing down 400 or 650 houses to create a park. I live near Riverdale Park and no planner or politician, I devoutly hope, would suggest tearing down 250 houses to expand that park.

(4) Transferring the residential areas from Metro to the province is a good idea.

Given this history, and its legacy of bitterness and intransigence, it's clear that Metro has never accepted the idea that far from being a drawback, the island community is a positive feature of the island and deserves not only to be preserved but nurtured. This being the case, the best solution is either to return the land to the city, as was requested for a number of years, or even better, I think, to transfer ownership of the land to the province, as this bill proposes. Then islanders, as well as other interested parties, can concentrate their energies on looking to the future rather than over their shoulders.

(5) The community makes the island safer.

Islanders have always actively promoted public safety, from the time when William Ward and his fishermen friends dragged sailors off wrecked ships until more modern times when islanders have saved drowning tourists. Beyond this, the islanders' very presence makes the eastern end of the island safer than it otherwise would be. They naturally provide the eyes on the street that enhance public safety and they provide a possible safe haven for people when trouble arises.

As a woman, I'm particularly sensitive to issues of safety in public environments and I can state with absolute certainty that if the community weren't on the island, I would never venture across the bay after dark or during the winter. I would even be reluctant to go during other times. The island would feel especially dangerous because it is so completely isolated.

I would like to end my presentation by quoting a slightly amended version of the final sentence of my book, More Than an Island.

"As the city celebrates its bicentennial, citizens with a sense of history only hope...that Toronto's oldest waterfront community will also be allowed to live and prosper and make its own distinctive contribution to the city's future."

Passage of Bill 61 will help accomplish this goal. Thank you.

Mr Marchese: Sally, thank you for the presentation. I have gathered from both opposition members that the existence of the island or the islanders is not in dispute. What they're now disputing, it seems to me, is two things. The first is the issue of zoning control, and that is that the city already has existing zoning control over the existing buildings but not over future construction of the co-ops and other infill housing. They see that as a problem. The second is that the price of the lease is simply not enough; it's giving it away for free.

As an objective observer, and given that you don't live on the island, what is your sense of, first, the zoning issue and, second, the issue of the price of the lease? Remember that $45,000 and $36,000 -- I've forgotten the prices -- amounts to approximately $330,000 a month of mortgage payments. It includes upgrading for fire codes and other regulatory issues. It includes property tax as additional cost, sewer and water charges, which are included, a special sewer and water tax which is about $600 a year, all of that. As an objective observer, what is your view of both of those issues?

Dr Gibson: First of all, in response actually to your preliminary statement that everybody agrees that the island community --

Mr Marchese: From what I gather.

Dr Gibson: -- ought to stay, I'm delighted to hear that, if that is true, because that was the substance of my remarks. If it's not the case, I hope people will look at what I said again.

In terms of the zoning, I'm afraid I don't have a comment on that. I said that I wasn't going to deal with administrative and other aspects. I'd have to look more closely, so I will trust those who have been spending the last number of years investigating it. In terms of price, again I don't want to get into the details. I haven't looked at it at all. My feeling is that I think the community ought to stay. I think this sort of price would allow a diverse community to stay and I think that's a good goal.

I can't recall what the yacht clubs spend, but I know in the history of the island, yacht club leases have always been less per acre than residential leases and it's never been clear to me why homes for boats should be more important, if you will, than homes for people or that residents should pay more than boats. I think that's the best way to put it. I don't really want to comment on the specifics of the finances.

Ms Swarbrick: Mr Chair, just a very quick statement --

The Chair: After Mr Stockwell perhaps.

Mr Stockwell: A quick question. What are they paying for a berth at the --

Dr Gibson: I don't know.

Mr Stockwell: You don't know?

Dr Gibson: No, I don't know that. I was going to pull out the Swadron report, but I'm afraid it's in storage.

Mr Stockwell: In the last 10 years what have the berths -- you have no idea?

Dr Gibson: No, I don't know.

Mr Stockwell: Considering the fact that the islanders have paid nothing for rent in the last 10 years, would you not consider that you're paying more to park your boat than to live on the island in the last 10 years? You don't? Okay.

Ms Swarbrick: I just want to say thank you for a very special presentation. Even though I know that intellectually I have very much agreed with the concept of maintaining the community on the island, I think you've helped to add to my emotional sense of it, since I really haven't visited the residential communities yet myself. But I think you've helped to add a very special creation of the emotional sense of the importance of the community and its existence and what it adds to the island in fact, and I think that, by doing that, you help very much to justify the legislation that we're putting in place, so thank you.

The Chair: Thank you for taking the time to come and see us today.

Mr Grandmaître: Where can we get your book?

The Chair: I would bring to the attention of members that the city of Toronto has provided us with the information, I think, that was requested by Mr Stockwell and Mr Grandmaître.

Mr Grandmaître: Is this the taxes?

The Chair: No. This is zoning information, official plan.

We're actually running slightly ahead of time, which is amazing for a committee.


The Chair: The next presentation, if they're here, is from the Toronto Island Archives.

Mr Rick Simon: I'll introduce myself while he's doing that.

The Chair: You introduce him and yourself. Then we'll provide you with half an hour.

Mr Simon: Fine.

The Chair: I take it they're slides.

Mr Simon: Yes. My name is Rick Simon. I'm a resident of the Toronto Islands community and a member of the TIRA executive, the Toronto Island Residents Association executive. I have lived on the island since 1968. Peter Holt, who is setting up the slides, has been living there since 1969. Peter is the custodian of the Toronto Island Archives. It's a collection of documents that was organized in the early 1970s. What we will be showing are slides that were taken since them, mostly of the current community with a few of the old community. A lot of what we're going to do is give a little bit of illustration of what Sally Gibson has been talking about.


Hopefully, the pictures will do the talking for us, and also hopefully this will be something like a visit to the island for all of you. The islanders have always been good hosts to people from the city, and we hope to have city people continue to come and visit us and make themselves at home in our community.

We're starting out with an aerial view, looking towards the city over the top of the island.

On this little trip to the island we'd like to tell you a little bit about who we are and how we live over there. We're this élite community with all these special services. Dennis Perlin was at great pains to actually talk about an amendment to this bill so that we wouldn't be getting the level of services that people of the city of Toronto were getting but the level of services currently provided to the islanders, and I don't think he meant that to benefit us, because we're going to be getting more services. I think he knows that the taxes we've paid for the last 10 years, 20 years, 30 years living on the island have not given us the same kind of services as people in the city have always received.

So here we are arriving at the island, the Ward's Island ferry dock. This is a picture of the Shamrock in 1920-something, 1930-something, and as you can see, the ferry docks and the ferries haven't changed very much. This is from 1897. At that time, more boats were going to the island. In fact, as Richard Johnston pointed out, only a quarter of the number of people are going to the island park currently as were going there in the 1940s. So our position is that Metro has made a mistake in changing over from the large community that used to be on the island to an empty park.

This is one of the pictures of the Ongiara, the winter ferry, going back and forth. When the ice is in the bay during the winter season, this is the only means of transportation.

Here are both of the ferries: the Ongiara carries vehicles over to Hanlan's Point, and the regular ferry, as you see there.

This is in the winter. When the bay freezes over, often we can only get a boat into Hanlan's Point. People are bringing all their groceries and goods in these orange carts, getting a bus ride the length of the island in order to get the convenient 10-minute boat ride across to the city. It's a convenient 10-minute ride when you're there when the boat is leaving, but in many cases there's a two-hour wait between when the boats go back and forth.

This is a view just as you're arriving at the ferry docks of the Ward's Island community, based on the tent community that was there in 1913. The houses, the cottages that are there are still on the tent lots, 40 by 44 feet. We continue to be a different kind of community. It's an island community, it's not a mainland community, in that we're a bicycle, cottage community with sidewalks and not roads and not garages and not cars. One of the things that Mr Stockwell's constituents would have to give up if they were living on the island, among other things, would be driving their car up to the side of their house.

Mr Stockwell: You'd have to give up a lot more money, too.

Mr Simon: As you can see, young and old alike value being able to bicycle around the island, and many enjoy visiting the island community. The island residents -- I'm sorry. I can't see the paper.

Mr Stockwell: It says there are lots of bikes on the island.

Mr Simon: There are lots of bikes on the island. Thank you very much, Chris. We take up 5% of the total island, and there are 54 of the island houses that are seniors', owned by retirees.

We're living in this special, non-mainland community. This is the parking lot here on the island. One of the things we like to talk about is the idea of fighting to stay on the island. We've had a lot of political battles over the years, but that's not the only struggle we have. Living with the special conditions of island life is something we have more slides illustrating. It's not the same as living in the city.

One of the reasons the price is what it is, is because it's not living in the city. We don't own the land. The houses, I'd like to make the point, were expropriated from us by that Supreme Court case. We owned them before that, we maintained them before, bought them before and maintained them after that. We act as an owner would. Metro hasn't fixed up my house or helped me get a building permit to fix my house up. In fact, in one situation the islanders were faced with getting taken to court for not fixing up their houses and getting taken to court for fixing them up because they couldn't get a building permit from Metro.

One of the things that the public enjoys about visiting the island community is seeing the gardens, seeing the cottages and being welcomed into the community. That's not something that happens with some of the yacht clubs over there. You're not welcomed into the yacht clubs. We've always been a good host to the public.

As you can see, some of the houses are in various states of repair. We're hoping that the normalization of affairs between ourselves and the municipal government will allow us to get building permits and do repairs and bring our houses up to the standards that are required by the various city building bylaws.

The question of zoning: Zoning on the island for the current houses is more strict -- it's something that was written by the islanders -- than actually exists in many neighbourhoods in the city. Anyone who has taken part in this exercise or any island exercise that is about the upcoming idea of building, the neighbourhoods have been consulted more and have made their opinions known, and that's the way we always do it on the island. We're after a consensus so that the building will be acceptable to the neighbours. We're not trying to subvert or go around any laws or anything like that. We'd like to get normalized and live like other people in the city of Toronto, but not exactly like people in the city of Toronto, because we are islanders and not mainlanders.

Often when we talk about the idyllic island and all those things, we're thinking in terms of being out there in the summer. Well, the real story is that there are six or eight months of island life when there aren't that many people from the city who venture out and brave the island weather, get out there on the bay and see what it's like.


Mr Peter Holt: When the power goes out and you're over there, you're a long way away from the city. We've got memories of summer to bring us through.

Mr Simon: As you can see, in the summer it can be an idyllic place to live. We're mainly interested in keeping it a place for a range of people to live: young people, old people, people with money, people without money.

Mr Stockwell, Mr Turnbull and also Dennis Perlin were offering the idea of -- go ahead, Peter, keep going -- setting the price much higher. Well, that would make it into the kind of community that they accuse us of being, and we're not that community. We can't afford that kind of high price; 28% of the islanders are single parents.

This is an example of the way we have to deal with moving things. This is an historical example from the 1930s, but this is the way island people live. It's not something that everybody would be suited for. Here's Bill Roedde on his bike -- he was speaking before you a little earlier -- going down one of our roads.

This is moving building supplies. Those were loaded off a truck in the city on to a boat and brought over, in many cases without the help of Metro because they wouldn't let us work on our homes. For 20 years, no building permits. Then they were loaded off the boat, on to the dock, up on to an old mail cart and pushed and pulled to the various places where work was being done. We've tried to keep up with the zoning bylaws, but it's not always possible. We're looking forward to getting normalized and actually living up to that.

Island life is about moving everything with your muscle power. Interesting island vehicles have been built just for that very purpose: to get things back and forth. They have to be narrow to fit through the new gates at the ferry dock, not built for people carrying their groceries and luggage.

The island is a place where children can grow up and not worry about getting run over by cars. I know that if islanders had their way, more opportunities in the city would be there for people to live in car-free communities.

This is the idyllic yuppie life amid the snow. That's the Algonquin Island bridge. Is this the view out of your house, Peter?

Mr Holt: Yes. That was before the insulation got in.

Mr Simon: In the roof.

Mr Holt: It's been a giant exercise by Metro to try and create a slum over there by trying to give us a bad rap, by not giving us bills so they can accuse us of not paying them, so they can prevent us from fixing our houses so they can build sentiment against keeping them.

Mr Stockwell: Metro wasn't giving the bills; the city of Toronto was.

Mr Simon: The city of Toronto didn't present us with that bill.

Mr Stockwell: That's right, not Metro.

Mr Simon: Let me clarify the question asked earlier about islanders refusing to pay. As I said, when the Supreme Court took our houses, which we owned at that point, away from us -- and we didn't lose all of those court cases; some of them were appealed by Metro to the higher court -- we refused to pay rent for the houses. We had been continuing to pay lease price, renting the land, and we were continuing and ready to continue to pay lease price for the land, but we didn't think it was fair to pay rent to Metro for homes we had built, bought and maintained, that were expropriated from us with no compensation. That was the refusal. It wasn't a refusal to pay land rent; we had been paying it all along.

Mr Holt: If you had the money back from the Metro legal bills, that would cover most of the cost of the deficit. They just kept appealing every court decision we won, and appealing it and appealing it and appealing it, because they didn't want to use the new Landlord and Tenant Act and reissue a new eviction notice. That was the whole reason. The only reason they didn't want to evict under the new Landlord and Tenant Act was that they didn't want to be forced to give a reason for the eviction. They had no reason.

Mr Simon: This is the island winter carnival. When conditions permit, we invite more people to come over and enjoy the park during the non-traditional island-enjoying times. Some years we are lucky enough to have a skating rink that goes all the way from Ward's Island to Hanlan's Point. Sometimes even the hardy islanders skate on the bay.

This is the Algonquin Island bridge facing the city side, looking down along Ojibway. These are island houses along the lagoon on Omaha, on Algonquin Island. These houses along the periphery of Algonquin Island were moved over from Hanlan's Point. They were put on barges. People were moved in order to accommodate the airport, and were told they would never have to move again. Some of those people are still there.

One of the activities the islanders take part in is that we bring our island spirit over to the city for Caribana. This is taking costumes across on boats and barges to participate in that festival of islands. Usually they're Caribbean islands, but we take part as well. This is the 1984 island-to-island. The islanders take part in this multicultural festival because we feel we have an island culture.

Here's a picture in front of Queen's Park. The theme that year was water, because we live with water, we live with the elements. This was the queen, Lorraine Fillier playing the queen. She's representing, on that side, clean water, and on the other side dirty water; we know about that too, because our beaches get closed just like they do in other areas in the city. It happens more now than it ever did.

This is the Arrhythmics, an island band, wearing boaters, enjoying part of an island festival called Gala Day. This is one of the light-hearted plays put on by islanders to talk about the political situation. We've tried to keep a sense of humour during all the adversity and all the fighting we've done in order to maintain this historic community on the island. We've gotten a lot of city support all the way along.

You can tell this political fight has been going on for a while. A sign in the back says, "Save us, Bill Davis."


Ms Swarbrick: I can also tell because of the apparent age of the main person in the picture.

Mr Simon: This is one of the activities on Gala Day. I was supposed to be a politician; islanders actually stood in for the politicians and took the heat for the politicians. It was actually directed at the politicians, so we sometimes take the heat off you.

Mr Holt: This is not meant to discourage any of you from visiting us.

At one time we had five men's baseball teams and four women's in an island league. Bashful Braves.

Mr Simon: The tug of war continues.

Mr Holt: It's an old island sport.

Mr Simon: This is Gala Day, an island festival that happens in the summer, and people are here exchanging clothes --

Mr Holt: And junk.

Mr Simon: And junk. This is the Gala Day white elephant sale. Here are some of the seniors putting chances in the drum for the Gala Day draw.

Mr Grandmaître: You mean no casino?

Mr Simon: This is an event that's put on totally by islanders. The public is always invited, and it's all totally at the islanders' expense. The clubhouse, which would be called a community centre anyway, is built and maintained totally at islanders' expense.

This is of John Sewell. He's leading a historical walk for people. He's showing the place where his grandfather built a wall along the lakeshore, built a wall that led up across the boardwalk to his grandfather's and grandmother's house, which is no longer there. As for the dangers of the floodplain, we always think the most dangerous thing that's ever happened is when the Metro parks department got hold of the island and tore down 425 houses.

Mr Holt: For parkland.

Mr Simon: For parkland, which is still underutilized. In fact, it's used less now than it was in the 1940s.

Mr Holt: That rubble is still there.

Mr Simon: This is one of the lakeshore homes. They were a little more palatial, a little bigger than the current island cottages that are on Ward's.

Mr Holt: Sometimes, multiple families lived in houses that had been formerly occupied by more well-to-do people who ended up buying places in Muskoka.

Mr Simon: When these houses were torn down, an average compensation of $11,000 was offered to the people who were giving them up. In many cases, as Peter has said, the wealthy people who actually owned them, who got the compensation, weren't the people who were living in them. The people who were living in them were tenants who had no say.

Mr Holt: They moved into the little shacks down at our end and fought back.

Mr Simon: To speak a little bit about the continuity of people on the island, I know Conservative members are saying that the Canadian census of 1986 isn't correct, but 65% of the islanders have been there for more than 15 years; 23% have been there for more than 35 years. In fact, of all the greater Toronto census areas, it's the most stable census tracked in the city of Toronto, more stable than Mr Stockwell's neighbourhood.

This is the dairy, one of the pieces of infrastructure that used to be on the island that's disappeared, along with hotels.

This is the main drag. This is where islanders and city people alike came. There were hotels, drugstore, all those things. They no longer exist. They were taken down.

Mr Holt: Now there's just a flour factory there.

Mr Simon: This shows how much land the community takes up out of the whole area of the island.

Mr Holt: Algonquin Island has the Queen City Yacht Club as well as the community showing on it over here. That notch over here is the Queen City Yacht Club. This is the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, and it's got these islands. In the old days, that is, around the time most of these pictures are from, around 1975, the yacht clubs had 20% more acreage than the community and paid half as much rent. This discrimination against housing was upheld as a land use prerogative of the municipal government. They could decide whether a place should be residential for, as Sally said, houses or residential for floating houses, seasonal floating houses. The parks commissioner, of course, is a member of the yacht club.

Mr Simon: The Royal Canadian Yacht Club.

Here's "Enjoy a vacation at Hanlan's Island for as low as $6.50 a week" -- this is around 1940 -- rooms, apartments. More people used to be able to enjoy the island because there were places they could rent and come over and visit and stay for a little while.

Mr Stockwell: That's about what it's costing you.

Mr Simon: You can tell my bank manager that, Mr Stockwell; ask him how much it costs.

Mr Stockwell: Tell my bank manager.

Mr Holt: Anybody who gets a good deal ought to lose it, right?

Mr Simon: Mr Stockwell doesn't have any solution for his poor people living in expensive places who are being thrown out of their homes. This is a solution for which we applaud the government for coming up with it, and we'd like to have it extended to other people.

This is a 1915 tent city.

Mr Holt: This is the old Ward's Hotel, which was torn down in 1966. In 1966: That's how Toronto valued its history. These little lots, they figured: "Any day, as soon as they run down. We just won't let them fix them." They're 40 by 50 foot lots. It's about a garden plot, in some communities, that you can rent. Here we grow people.

Mr Simon: This is a little picture of what was going on in the tent community.

Mr Holt: That's Ward's Island, and these are the Wards.

Mr Simon: This is Bill Ward and Edith Ward and Frank Ward in front of the firehall. It's a plaque for Fram Ward, who was an island firefighter for a long time. It's another example of us valuing our history out on the island.

Mr Holt: Here's a panorama looking out of the gap at the community. The gap is where the ships go out of the harbour.

Mr Simon: The eastern gap is the space between the edge of the Ward's Island community and where Cherry Beach is, where the boats now tie up.

Mr Holt: This is in the church.

Mr Simon: For the people in back who can't see, "To the glory of God, in memory of the islanders who paid the supreme sacrifice in the Great War, 1914 to 1919."

Sally Gibson was a lot more eloquent. This is about the centennial services at the church.

Mr Holt: Built 1875, moved to present site 1959.

Mr Simon: The church as well being maintained by the islanders is at risk -- was at risk -- from Metro, the same way the island school has been in the last little while. The idea is that if there's no church and no school and no stores, it'll be easier to get those islanders off there.

Mr Holt: This is when we were preparing for the sheriff.


Mr Simon: We were going to be faced with the sheriff presenting eviction notices. Here's Kay Walker, the base commander, with her walkie-talkie, making sure of who was coming and going to the island ferry docks, looking for the sheriff.

Mr Holt: And there's the sheriff.

Mr Simon: Here he is confronting a group of islanders and non-islanders who are asking him not to serve eviction notices on 250 homes; 700 people asking not to be thrown out of their homes.

Mr Holt: He said, "Are you going to prevent us from doing our duty?" and our chairperson at the time said: "Those are strong words. We prefer to say `not cooperate.' We think that our request is reasonable," and he agreed.

Mr Simon: And went away.

Mr Holt: He went away and he didn't serve the writs of possession. The houses were never properly, ritualistically taken from us by any due process of law except by one poor court decision which every political party abhorred.

Mr Simon: This is a rally asking city supporters to come over and visit us. Every time we go to the public, as the politicians have to once in a while, the public gives us a rousing "Stay there." This is another example of that.

This is talking about what happened at the Supreme Court, Metro expropriating homes with no compensation. That's what we were against.

Mr Holt: Would you give up to someone who wants to tear it down?

Mr Stockwell: Are you talking to me?

Mr Holt: Anyone.

Mr Simon: This is a welcoming celebration. The island actually has more Olympic medal winners who are island residents or have lived on the island than anyplace else in the city of Toronto, a lot of sailors and canoeists and swimmers.

This is putting in the sewers that we're being asked to pay for. As has been said, we're being asked to pay the whole cost of this. There's no other community in the city of Toronto that's being asked to pay the entire cost of putting in the sewers. We're willing to pay for hookups like everyone else, but the city told us we had to put in the sewers and told us we had to pay for it.

Mr Holt: It used to be $40 a year to get it pumped out with the honey truck. Now it's $10,000 a hookup, or something like that.

Mr Simon: We didn't have to mow many lawns that year, though.

Mr Holt: We were really pleased.

Mr Simon: This is Edith Ward again in front of her palatial island house.

Mr Holt: This is people in front of their homes, by way of introduction. This is the bird lady.

Mr Simon: In 1975, Peter and David Harris and a few others photographed people in front of their homes to put a face to the thing that the opposition politicians were saying, "Oh, these squatters, these people should just be thrown out." These people have serious looks on their faces because they were maybe going to be thrown out of their homes. Most of these families pictured here still live on the island, since 1975. In fact all these families are the surviving people. Some of the older people have died.

Here's a family that's four generations on the island.

The average income is 12% lower than the mainland, 28% more single-parent families than in Metro as a whole and 20% more low-income people, compared to 13% in Metro.

In general, what we're looking for, overall, is the normalization of our community. We're looking forward to taking the energy that we've spent with this adversarial relationship with governments and bringing the energy, creativity and sense of humour that we have brought to the island struggle of maintaining the island homes. We're hoping to bring that to being better hosts on the island, welcoming the public and also being good stewards of the island.

We always have welcomed people from the city to come and visit our community. We realize that we're going to be facing a lot more responsibilities that we've never had before. One of the reasons that we're paying a lower price is because we are taking on all these responsibilities. They're not the normal responsibilities of a city home owner. We don't own the land; we maintain the houses but we don't own the land. We can't sell them for what we'd like to sell them for and we can't use the market to sell the homes. So we feel we've got a lot of extra responsibilities and a lot of extra burdens along with this deal, but we applaud the provincial government for helping, finally, to save the island homes.

Mr Holt: And we'll never forget.

Mr George Mammoliti (Yorkview): Rosario, did you hear that?

Mr Marchese: They'll never forget.

Mr Mammoliti: Chris, did you hear that?

Mr Stockwell: No. What was that?

Mr Simon: So we're at the crossroads now and we're hoping to --

Mr Holt: We think this sign symbolizes this presentation really and this point where we are as a community. The storm seems to be over. There seems to be a new season about to begin. We've got the support of all commonsense people, we think.

Interjection: Is that the end?

Mr Simon: That's the end.


The Chair: Order. I think we have time for one short question.

Mr Stockwell: From who?

The Chair: From the New Democrats. Ms Swarbrick.

Ms Swarbrick: I just was thinking of a question here. One, I assume that none of the homes have basements, and I want you to confirm that. But, secondly, Richard had me thinking of something this morning, that monster homes would sink there. In fact, once it now becomes legitimate for people to end up doing renovations and what have you, is it even feasible on that land to be able put basements in if anybody wanted to?

Mr Simon: Are you speaking of the basement apartments on the island?

Ms Swarbrick: No, just thinking in terms of again what you're getting in terms of the land, whether you're getting full-value land in that way.

Mr Simon: In terms of the land, the land is all sand. There are a couple of half-basements under houses, crawl spaces and some that you can almost stand up in. But generally, it's not feasible to have basements on the island. The new construction is unlikely to have basements. We're quite interested in what kind of construction we would do in order to alleviate the problems. We're quite willing to live within the setbacks of 30 metres that happen everywhere else at the edges of water that the provincial government has.

The question of flooding every 20 years does raise its ugly head, and so we're talking about engineering the new structures such that they will be above any kind of flooding. We've also had an exhaustive community process looking at placing these new co-op and land trust homes on vacant land that's within the community and not within the floodplain area. That was very difficult for our community to do, because it means taking away some of the park space, but we realize that the question of safety is important.

Mr Grandmaître: Can you get insurance for your homes?

The Chair: That's it. Thank you very much for coming today. We enjoyed your slides, and I think we all have a little bit better idea of what we're really talking about now. Thank you very much, gentlemen.



The Chair: The next presentation is the Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association, David Smiley. Mr Smiley, you've been allocated 15 minutes for your presentation.

Mr David Smiley: The Bathurst Quay community is a new community. It's only been around for seven years. It's located on Bathurst Quay, which is right opposite the island airport. It consists of the residents of approximately 650 apartments and town houses. There's been a strong, supportive link and relationship between Bathurst Quay and the island community.

We have many common concerns and have worked together on a variety of issues: environmental issues, waterfront issues, airport issues, schooling and a number of other issues common to the downtown core. There have also been a lot of good times. A lot of people from Bathurst Quay enjoy going over to the islands. Personally, when the ice is thick enough, I enjoy skating on the canals there too.

The Bathurst Quay Neighbourhood Association supports the resolution of this long-standing fight to save the island homes. We like the idea that the residents will make the island parkland safer than if they were not there. We support the concept of eyes on the park; we think it's true. We support the community as it has shown itself to be an active and concerned community, and we'd like to see it have secure tenure. We really do appreciate the lack of automobiles on the island, and we'd like to see that sort of lifestyle continue.

The co-ops on Bathurst Quay support the concept of an island land trust. We are familiar with a land trust active in the Toronto area controlled by the co-op sector and in fact with the Harbourfront resolution are hoping to have the lands on which our co-ops are built held by a land trust. We feel that the trust will eliminate the speculation that is rampant in the downtown core. We also support the addition of the co-op to the island community, which will make the community a larger and more economically sustainable community. That's about it.

The Chair: Good; we have some time for some questions. The first questions might come from the Liberal caucus.

Mr Grandmaître: I don't have any questions.

The Chair: They might not too.

Mr Stockwell: I'm not sure mine is a question; it's more of a point of clarification. I don't even know if you want to comment on this. Maybe it's a comment that we can get from staff, and I think it was requested earlier by the official opposition.

The Chair: We have a presenter here. Perhaps we could ask a question of the presenter. If you have a different question, we could ask that of staff later.

Mr Stockwell: Okay.

Mr Marchese: I have a question that I've asked somebody else before you, and I appreciate it coming from somebody who doesn't live on the island. One of the objections from the opposition members is that the price of the lease, when you calculate it on a monthly basis amortized over a 25-year period, would be around $360 a month. When you build in the other costs of upgrading, in terms of fire codes and other regulations that one needs to meet, and you build in the property tax and the sewer water bills and the special sewer water tax, which amounts to about $600, not to mention higher transportation costs that they have to pay -- because once they get on to the mainland, they've got an additional cost -- it might come up to $700 or so a month.

In your view, because I think Chris and others want to know that, are these islanders paying too little? Are they not paying enough for this? What is your sense of the fairness around the way Richard Johnston recommended the costs?

Mr Smiley: It seems to be the intention of the report to make it affordable for people to remain there, people who have proven that they can basically run their own affairs to a great extent. There's a real value in that, coming out of the community, the value of people's labour. The actual cost is not, I would say, high or low. It's important that there also be rent-geared-to-income aspects, and I think the co-op will provide that for people able to pay less so that the community itself would not be pulled apart by the rich and poor sort of aspects.

There's a limited return on investment. People have put up millions of dollars worth of their own time and energy over the course of X number of years -- I don't know, 50 years or 30 years; it's just been way, way too long -- and there's limited return on the investment. I do not see it as being either a high or a low figure. Then, when you take a look at the market right now as far as what it costs to live in Toronto, with this incredible downturn in our economy, we now see condominiums in buildings that have swimming pools renting out for about that rate, and that affords a behind-locked-doors, vertical-living type of alternative.

I think the opportunity at this point in time should be to end the very long, very costly debate and give the islanders their security so they can get on with it.

The Chair: Mr Stockwell now has a question.

Mr Stockwell: Yes, just a quick one, following up on the question by the member for Fort York. The islanders are going to be paying, if you take the $36,000 and push it out over 99 years, reduce it back to a monthly rate or even a daily rate, a buck a day.


Mr Stockwell: They're laughing. Probably if I was paying a buck a day, I'd laugh too. Working out to a month, it's $30 a month. Do you realize that's $30 a month for 99 years, considering the fact that you're going to pay $36,000 for this piece of property? If you're living in an apartment in Toronto, I know people who are living in a $600-a-month apartment -- single mothers, for instance -- some even higher, $700 or $800. At a basic rate of inflation of 4%, in 10 years the rent on that same -- and I would classify them almost as dumps -- apartment will cost you, at a rate of inflation of 4% built in, $1,200, yet these island homes will still cost $30 a month. Do you think that's reasonable and fair?

Mr Smiley: Yes, I think this is the fairest solution. I think the solution, given as a whole by Richard Johnston, is an excellent solution. The question comes to mind, "What is fair?" How many people are home owners who hide money, maybe who speculate on property? If people were taxed on their profits made on the buying and selling of homes, there'd be a lot of money made. There seems to be a lot of subsidy that way in our society.

Mr Stockwell: Let's talk about a lady, a single mother, who's renting an apartment, and literally dumps, for $600. In 10 years her rent's going to be $1,200 and this island home will still be $30 a month. Potentially the person who in fact could live in this home, as I know --

Ms Swarbrick: Let's talk about our rent control legislation.


Mr Stockwell: Consider a 4% increase, which I don't think is unreasonable. Some of the people who live in these homes -- I have it here -- are professionals who earn considerable sums of money. I'm not saying all, I'm not saying the majority, but there are a goodly number of them. Is that fair to that single mother who in 10 years will be paying $1,200?

Mr Smiley: Maybe it would be fair if the society had a guaranteed annual income with a spread of a one-to-three range. I don't think I can answer your question. My opinion is that this document, taken as a whole, is an excellent document, and it contains a package that I think a lot of people can live with. I think the government should go for it.

Mr Stockwell: Oh, it contains a package a lot of people could live with. I agree with you there.

The Chair: Thank you. Mr Mammoliti has a question.

Mr Mammoliti: Just to follow up on Mr Stockwell, in terms of perhaps comparing Mr Stockwell's riding to some of the potential problems that might exist when it comes to the lack of city support, let's talk about snow removal for a second here; let's talk about the sewers; let's talk about hydro; we'll talk about garbage pickup; we'll talk about debris.

Do you see the city in the future, and in your future, providing these services as they are provided for in Mr Stockwell's riding? Would the residents on the island take advantage of these services as perhaps the residents of Mr Stockwell's riding would take advantage of them? Then talk about the $30 a month and whether or not it's worth it.

Mr Smiley: The community already chips its own wood, right? They go together and they're economically very environmentally sensitive. They do for each other and for themselves. They rebuilt the Algonquin Island clubhouse when it burned down, at no cost to the city or to Metropolitan Toronto. They are a very different community than any other community in the city.

Mr Mammoliti: In Mr Stockwell's riding, there are a number of people who walk by his house every day picking up garbage, perhaps driving one of those -- what are they called? -- elephants that pick up the debris. Do you see the city doing the same thing on the island?

Mr Smiley: Not unless Mr Stockwell insisted.

Mr Mammoliti: That costs money. Every day you see garbage pickup in Mr Stockwell's riding. Most likely two times a week Mr Stockwell's home is probably picked up.

Mr Stockwell: Once a week.

Mr Mammoliti: Once a week on a regular basis.

Mr Stockwell: Except at Christmas.

Mr Mammoliti: By the same people. He probably knows them by name. In Mr Stockwell's riding as well, you would see --

Mr Stockwell: Bicycles.

Mr Mammoliti: -- hydro repairs on a regular basis, perhaps on his street. You would see the police patrolling on a regular basis on his streets in Etobicoke, that lovely community of his that he represents.

Mr Stockwell: Is there a point to this?

Mr Mammoliti: Do you see the same types of services for the islanders? When I say "the same," I mean as consistent as it would be in Mr Stockwell's riding.

Mr Smiley: It says in Johnston's report, and I don't know what page it's on, that the island is a special community, and it receives less services or it will be receiving less services. They'll be doing a lot on their own. They'll be managing a lot of things on their own through the land trusts and through the co-ops. I don't see the need for the same degree of service provision as you would have within a normal city.

Mr Mammoliti: So the example that Mr Stockwell is using in terms of a renter in Metro as opposed to the $30 a month is hogwash, isn't it? There's really no need to use that as an example.

Mr Smiley: I don't think it's a very good example.

Mr Mammoliti: Thank you.

Ms Swarbrick: I just want to add to what Mr Mammoliti has said. Unfortunately, Mr Stockwell doesn't seem to want to hear a point that I know I've made a number of times in the Legislature and here, that the comparison isn't valid for a number of other reasons either.

(1) It's dealing only with the land and not the cost of the houses.

(2) It's being spread over 99 years, not the 25 or 30 that most of our mortgages would be spread over.

(3) There are clear restrictions on the use of the land in terms of whom it can sold to and in terms of the equity that can be gained from the selling of it.

(4) There are of course the things that Mr Mammoliti was just pointing out, that the services and the living conditions which we've seen through the slides today are totally not comparable to the services and the living conditions and amenities that are available to the rest of us in Metro.

(5) As was just pointed out to us, the land is not comparable to the land the rest of us enjoy because basements can't be built into it, which the rest of us have.

(6) The money is paid up front and not over a period of time, which then is a benefit to the people receiving it. That's very much a different situation that most of us have; also, we end up paying over a period of time.

I think there are a whole lot of reasons, it's very clear -- and I hope you've heard it this time, finally -- why the money is just not comparable.


The Chair: Do you have a response?


The Chair: Order.

Mr Smiley: I would just wonder who benefits from that renter paying that money.

Mr Stockwell: The landlord.

The Chair: Thank you very much for appearing before us today.


The Chair: Are we going to have to go over the rules again?


The Chair: The next presentation is from Equity Homeowners' Committee. Good afternoon. You have 15 minutes. Would you please introduce yourself and your co-presenter.

Mrs Kay Walker: My name is Kay Walker. I am a pioneer. I am also a long-time resident of the islands. I'll leave my compadre to introduce herself.

Mrs Enid Cridland: My name is Enid Cridland, and I'm also a long-time resident.

Mrs Walker: The submission from the Equity Homeowners' Committee:

We represent a group of islanders, probably a majority, who consider themselves home owners.

While supporting the principles of the Johnston report:

(1) As equity home owners, it is vital that the price we receive when we have to move or choose to move is properly adjusted for inflation. The formulas for the sale of the unused part of the lease and the equity factor must be inflation-neutral. The most recent version of the draft regulations that we have received, dated October 29, do not appear to be inflation-neutral.

(2) A number of islanders are not sure if they will have to sell to the co-op or can afford to remain home owners. Under the legislation, this decision has to be made very soon after proclamation. These islanders would like to retain for a year their eligibility to join the co-op. After this grace period, we feel that while individual islanders should be permitted to move from one form of tenure to another -- co-op to ownership or vice versa -- the housing units, once established as co-op or ownership, must remain in these categories.

(3) Mr Johnston recommended that home owners receive a modest 1.5% equity factor that he termed a "longevity bonus." He suggested that this recognition of longevity start on the day when the legislation goes into effect. As he constructs it, the years of longevity that many islanders, particularly seniors, have contributed are totally ignored. Therefore, we feel that all seniors, not just those proposed as being in need, should receive the benefit of the 25% deferral on the price of their land lease.

(4) We are concerned that there is no appeal procedure should the land trust board choose to proceed with a development that home owners oppose. Because the legislation removes the island from the Planning Act and the environmental review act, the decisions of the land trust board are final. We feel that there should be an appeal procedure.

(5) Should the province and Metro agree on market value taxation, we are concerned that we will be taxed on a market value basis, when the fact is that our homes will be sold for far less than market value. The bill gives us no protection that our assessment will be the formula resale price mandated by this legislation.

In conclusion, much as we all long for a solution, we submit the above in the sincere hope it will assist the committee for a durable solution. Thank you very much.


Mr Stockwell: A quick question. I'm really curious about your market value assessment comments. What are you assessed at right now?

Mrs Cridland: The same market value the whole province of Ontario is.

Mr Stockwell: So what's your assessment on your property? Any idea? What's the assessment on your property?

Mrs Cridland: What does that --

Mr Stockwell: Okay, what do you pay in taxes?

Mrs Cridland: This six-month bill I just got in was $736.

Mr Stockwell: So you pay $1400 for the year.

Mrs Cridland: Yes, I guess so.

Mr Stockwell: Have you seen what you'd be assessed under market value assessment? Did you phone your local councillor to find out?

Mrs Cridland: Yes, I have, but I --

Mr Stockwell: You don't know what it is.

Mrs Cridland: I think it's --

Mr Stockwell: You're not sure.

Mrs Cridland: No.

Mr Stockwell: How about yourself?

Mrs Walker: My four-month bill is four times $117. That's my first half.

Mr Stockwell: Four times $117?

Mrs Walker: Yes.

Mrs Cridland: You've got $468.

Mr Stockwell: And that's half-year.

Mrs Walker: Yes, for 800 square feet of a house.

Mr Stockwell: Right. So your full would be something under $1,000.

Mrs Walker: Just bordering on a little over $1,000, because the second section is higher.

Mr Stockwell: Could be higher, right. Okay, that's good. Thanks.

Mr Marchese: A quick question. The land trust would be the body that would make the final decisions on most issues, and you're saying there's no other appeal process to which you can go. If there should be an appeal, where do you think you might appeal to?

Mrs Cridland: I don't know. Maybe we could set it up so that if some of us wanted to appeal something, we could go to the land trust board and appeal it.

Mr Marchese: The land trust board is the body that hears all cases and would make all the decisions, and you're saying that's not good enough; you need another level of appeal should something work against you.

Mrs Cridland: I guess I was looking at it from the point of view of hearing people say that maybe if they didn't like what was going to be built by them, they would like somewhere that they could perhaps appeal it. I don't know.

Mr Grandmaître: Question, Mr Chair: The land trust board will be appointed through cabinet, right?

Mr Stockwell: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: Well, that would be an appeal process. They could appeal to cabinet. The province owns the land. They will be appointing their own people, I promise you.

Mr Mills: No, that's not true.


The Chair: One at a time.

Mr Stockwell: Rosario's got to find a job after the next election.

Mr Grandmaître: I think these people have got a very important point. I think there should be an appeal process, because they could be out of a home if they can't afford it. Where do they go? There's no guarantee.

The Chair: Further questions? Seeing none, thank you very much for appearing before us today. This concludes today's hearings.

Mr Stockwell: Can I ask a question?

The Chair: Oh, yes, that's correct.

Mr Stockwell: I just want to make it very clear, or I'd like research to make it very clear. There seems to be some confusion, particularly with the picture display, the slide show we had. There's some debate about ownership of the property and so on and so forth, and I know the member from Scarborough was asking a question of Mr Johnston this morning. I would just like research to come back with a very clear answer. As far as I understand it, in my few years around this issue, there's little if any debate. The Supreme Court had ruled that Metropolitan Toronto owned the land; they owned the houses, they owned lock, stock and barrel.

Mr Holt: Wrong.

Mr Stockwell: I get "wrong," and there could be a wrong, there could be a right. That's why I would like research to bring forward the exact phrasing or terminology from the decision handed down by the Supreme Court and the legal opinion. I think you'll find, if you read it, that that's what they ruled. Metropolitan Toronto was the owner of the land and therefore, by owning the land, it owned the homes as well. But let's just see. I don't want to pass comment now. Let's just get research to do it and put this to bed once and for all.

The Chair: To be clear on what you're asking me: Is the committee's researcher to provide that or the ministry to provide that?

Mr Stockwell: I would like the committee researcher to provide that, just basically review the Supreme Court decision, because I think you'll find it's outlined very clearly in the Supreme Court decision.

The Chair: That's a reasonable request. We'll undertake to do that. Ms Swarbrick and then Mr Eddy.

Ms Swarbrick: I have no objection to checking into that kind of history. I would just point out that in fact court decisions have oftentimes in the past been the reasons for legislation to be put forward afterwards to actually deal with what the public will wants done in a situation when the public will is different than what a court case was. So your request, of course, will need to be put in the proper historical context, which is that.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I wondered, are all of the residences now in use served with municipal water and municipal sewage? Is that the way it is.

The Chair: I see a lot of nodding of heads out in the --

Mr Eddy: It's completely serviced, all residences?

Mr Stockwell: Yes, paid for by the city of Toronto taxpayers.

Mr Eddy: Thank you.

The Chair: As the only other person in the room who lives on an island, I shall adjourn the meeting.

The committee adjourned at 1656.