Premier Dalton McGuinty paid a huge compliment to the land development and home-building industry last week – and then backed up his words with a very positive announcement on development charges, which should go over as well with new-home buyers as it did with the more than 400 members of BILD who heard it first. “On behalf of the people of Ontario, I need to tell you something. I need to say something to all our builders and developers. Are you ready for this? Thank you! Thank you for the contribution you make to Ontario through your hard work and your entrepreneurship,” the Premier stated.
“You’re one of the most important industries in our province. You create highly skilled jobs – 160,000 of them altogether. You feed a lot of families. You help drive this economy,” McGuinty added. That was McGuinty’s lead-in to the announcement that his government will not open the Development Charges Act. “We will not be making changes to the Act. With housing affordability a real concern in the marketplace, it would be a mistake to move in that direction.”
McGuinty’s announcement means that homebuyers will not face even higher development charges than already imposed. The municipalities who collect the charges, which range as high as $44,000 per single-detached home in Oakville, were pressing hard for changes to the legislation that would have meant thousands of dollars in additional levies to new-home buyers.
We appreciate the Premier’s leadership on this issue, while we remain empathetic with the fiscal challenges facing our municipalities. It’s why we’ve been supporting their call for uploading the cost of previously downloaded social services. It’s also why we support Mayor Hazel McCallion’s Cities Now campaign to leverage more infrastructures funding from the federal government and the Premier’s more broad-based Fairness Initiative (fairness.ca). “Let’s send a clear message to Ottawa – give us fairness, let us build a stronger Ontario for a stronger Canada,” said McGuinty. I would add that a strong GTA makes for a strong province and that a strong residential construction industry is good for all levels of government, which means our Premier has made the right call on development charges
The recent Ontario Home Builders’ Association annual conference saw the election of Frank Giannone, FRAM Building Group, as OHBA president for 2008/2009. Giannone was president of the Toronto Home Builders’ Association (now BILD) in 1989. Local members joining Giannone on the OHBA Executive are Sandy Ewen, Lombard Canada, as Treasurer, and Hugh Heron, Heathwood Homes, as a presidential appointee. BILD members were heavily represented among the OHBA Awards of Distinction winners, announced September 23 in Collingwood.
Congratulations to Mattamy Homes, OHBA’s Home Builder of the Year, and Minto, OHBA’s Green Builder of the Year.
Congratulations, as well, to Empire Communities who captured four OHBA awards including Project of the Year, Low-Rise, for Wyndance. Tridel/Concert took home Project of the Year, High-Rise for The Huntington.