Ontario’s Associate Minister of Transportation, Stan Cho, left a decades-long career in real estate to pursue public office when he saw the Canadian dream that he and his family achieved in building a business and owning a home was disappearing for the next generation. He was elected as a Member of Provincial Parliament representing Willowdale for Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives in 2018. A top concern for Minister Cho is increasing the availability and affordability of housing, and ensuring that new and existing communities in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are flourishing transit hubs that meet the needs of their residents.
For a recent episode of the Ready to Real Estate podcast , Minister Cho outlined some of his proposed initiatives for building and sustaining transit-oriented communities (TOCs) throughout the GTA with TRREB President Kevin Crigger and Chief Market Analyst Jason Mercer. Read on for the highlights of their conversation, and to see why Minister Cho says “transit and housing go hand in hand.”
The Opportunities That TOCs Bring
Projections show that the GTA’s population will grow by another 1.2 million by 2031; Toronto alone will be over 4 million by 2046. The city and surrounding areas will need housing to accommodate that massive growth, as well as the transit to bridge housing to workplaces, schools, shopping, and entertainment. Minister Cho told Kevin and Jason about “20-minute neighbourhoods” – interconnected transit hubs that allow residents to take advantage of their city’s rich economic and cultural life, all while taking cars off the road and increasing ridership.
It also extends beyond the GTA and downtown core. Part of the vision for TOCs in the greater Golden Horseshoe includes expanding the GO network, allowing commuters from towns in southwestern Ontario, like London and Stratford, to access employment opportunities while enjoying a quieter lifestyle outside of city limits. The forecasted growth doesn’t have to be limited to the GTA as different types of TOCs can allow for increased housing availability across the province.
COVID-19 and the Recency Bias
Kevin, Jason, and Minister Cho discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic might have changed emphasis on transit-oriented communities – TTC ridership currently sits at about 45 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Minister Cho is confident that it will return, pointing to the resurgence of the rental and condo markets. Critical to ridership returning, though, is good value – making the TTC relevant and useful to its riders means continued investment in infrastructure. Just because the same amount of people aren’t riding now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be in the (near) future.
How REALTORS® Can Help
As a former REALTOR® himself, Minister Cho knows that no one has as much of an insider’s view to the GTA’s current housing supply situation as TRREB’s membership does. He asks that REALTORS® advocate their position to all levels of government, across party lines, to let them know about the drivers of the housing market, the imbalance between supply and demand, and the need for an increased diversity of housing supply to account for new home buyers into the market. “We all have a role to play in keeping home ownership alive,” he said.
With house prices increasing and a population boom on the horizon, Kevin, Jason, and Minister Cho’s conversation addressed more than just TOCs: listen in for their thoughts on rezoning, how the government has sped up its decision-making processes to respond to new challenges, and how to return the province to being the economic powerhouse of the country. Catch up on the full episode .
The post Talking Transit-Oriented Communities with Minister Stan Cho appeared first on TRREB Wire .