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Employment Lands


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May 1, 2007
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The Junction, Toronto
Kris posted an interesting poster of a city initiative to enhance the city's employment lands in the Atria thread.

They had these posted in the offices and around the area

I find it interesting because the city sometimes rejects condo development proposals to protect employment areas--often districts with a concentration of businesses or industrial uses. Yet some of these districts seem to languish and stagnate while other parts of the city are revitalized. If the city wants to protect its employment lands, it needs to ensure that they're attractive places for businesses.

In the Junction, there's an area called the Stockyards. The area hasn't seen many new employers besides big box retailers and fast food chains. It's only when a factory closes and gets redeveloped that missing sidewalks will be built, for instance. Even though industrial taxpayers pay the highest tax rates, the streets are dirty and falling apart. It's important to keep employment lands attractive to businesses and their employees with good roads designed for commercial users that might need truck shipments, quality transit links, state-of-the-art communications infrastructure and attractive public spaces for employees.

I wouldn't want to see large parts of the city become bedroom communities if employment lands get redeveloped for condos. At the same time, the local infrastructure and public realm often need investment to ensure that employment lands don't stagnate when factories close. Allowing big box retail to take over employment lands isn't enough in terms of keeping good employment opportunities in the city.


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Apr 17, 2009
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The "Employment" land designation was forced on every municipality in the Province by the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. Every municipality was required to identify it's Urban Boundary, and then which lands within the boundary were Employment. Any changes to the Urban Boundary or Employments lands needs Provincial approval. A municipality can apply to the Province to get a change but they have to prove that they can still meet certain targets and objectives, one of which is to ensure there is enough vacant employment lands within the municipality to meet potential growth demands for a long time - since it will be virtually impossible to convert residential land back to employment land in the future. Therefore, if a municipality is going to apply to convert some land from Employment to Residential they need to be strategic about it. That is to say, they need select the most promising pieces of land in their application and not include less promising areas. As a result some areas like 404 and Sheppard, which is (likely to be) next to an LRT are top-of-the-list, while other areas which could potentially be redeveloped for non-employment uses are held back, because they are further down the City's priority list.
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