News   Nov 30, 2022
 97     0 
News   Nov 30, 2022
 476     0 
News   Nov 30, 2022
 687     2 

Roads: GTA West Corridor—Highway 413

wopchop

Building Toronto
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 28, 2011
Messages
1,691
Reaction score
808
Location
Oakville
407 is owned in part by all of us, through cpp.
Then perhaps we should demand it provide more benefit for good of the region.
It seems like almost everyone agrees that the 407 is not addressing the problem it was created to solve before Harris decided to cash in. That problem being a highway bypass of the GTA.
But instead of solving the real problem, it appears we want to create another highway, which doesn't actually solve the original problem of a GTA bypass at all.
 

W. K. Lis

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Dec 24, 2007
Messages
22,223
Reaction score
12,454
Location
Toronto, ON, CAN, Terra, Sol, Milky Way

INVESTIGATION: Developers with ties to Ford government stand to cash in on Hwy. 413

From link.

Eight of Ontario’s most powerful land developers own thousands of acres of prime real estate near the proposed route of the controversial Highway 413, a National Observer/Torstar investigation has found.

Four of the developers are connected to Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government through party officials and former Tory politicians now acting as registered lobbyists.

If built, the road will raze 2,000 acres of farmland, cut across 85 waterways and pave nearly 400 acres of protected Greenbelt land in Vaughan. It would also disrupt 220 wetlands and the habitats of 10 species-at-risk, according to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.
One developer, John Di Poce, employed the head of the Ontario PC party’s fundraising arm for several years and three other developers employ the chair of Caroline Mulroney’s 2018 PC leadership campaign as a government lobbyist. Mulroney is now Ontario’s transportation minister and will play a key role in future decisions about the 413 highway.

Another of the developers, Michael DeGasperis, hosted Ford and PC MPP Stephen Lecce in a private luxury suite at the BB&T Center in Miami to watch a Florida Panthers’ NHL game in December 2018. In a statement, spokespeople for Ford and Lecce said both politicians paid for their own tickets to the game and no government business was discussed.

That was shortly after the Ford government had resurrected the proposed 413 highway. The previous Liberal government had shelved the project in 2018 as concerns about urban sprawl and its impact on the environment grew.

The provincial government has handed down extraordinary directives in at least three instances since April 2020 to help fast-track development on lands owned by some of these major developers around the proposed highway.
In the past year, Ford’s government has signed controversial minister’s zoning orders(MZO) for two properties in Vaughan near Highway 400 close to the terminus of the 413’s route and a parcel of land in Caledon near a proposed interchange.

Most of the developers in the group are also prolific PC donors, contributing at least $813,000 to support the party since 2014.

The group of developers own 39 properties covering 3,300 acres that are conservatively valued at nearly half a billion dollars, according to land registry documents. The value of those lands could rise dramatically if the highway is built and residential, commercial and industrial development is allowed to spread along the route.
The developers include the Cortellucci, DeGasperis, Guglietti and De Meneghi families, John Di Poce, Benny Marotta, Argo Development and Fieldgate Homes.

The proposed 60-kilometre route of the 413 highway would extend northeast from Highway 401 near Milton looping around the built-up edges of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to Highway 400 north of Vaughan. It would pass through parts of Greenbelt land just south of the Oak Ridges Moraine, a protected environmentally sensitive area.

One study commissioned by the previous Liberal government estimated the proposed highway would save drivers a mere 30 to 60 seconds of driving time. The Ministry of Transportation contends that it would save drivers 30 minutes.

In an emailed statement on behalf of Ford, Mulroney and the transportation ministry, the premier’s spokesperson said the 413 highway is needed because “even with significant investments in transit, the major highways in York and Peel regions are all forecasted to be operating over capacity by 2031.”

“There is a very strong case for moving forward with this project when considering the forecasted population growth this region will experience in the coming years,” said Ivana Yelich, the premier’s spokesperson.

The highway, also known as the GTA West Corridor, is under increasing criticism from residents, environmental groups and, now, local governments who are questioning the need for a new road and a price tag estimated to be anywhere from $6 billion to $10 billion.
On Humber Station Road, just south of Bolton, the Muia family are among those waiting and worrying about the fate of the highway. The 413 hangs over them like a shadow, figuratively for now but perhaps literally some day.

The highway would pass right over the roof of the family house at the location of what will be the Humber Station interchange. Their two-acre property will become pavement and concrete, bridges and ramps.

Vince Muia is 86 and he wasn’t planning on going anywhere. “I hoped to pass away at my property,” he said.

When the highway was first conceived some two decades ago, it was meant to be part of a bypass that extended all the way to Fort Erie. Now, only the 60-km stretch from Milton to Vaughan remains.

The environmental concerns that have dominated discussion around the highway — rallying together citizens from across the GTA — are not new. The detrimental impacts to the GTA’s farmland, waterways and Greenbelt have been discussed for the past two decades — and that was, in part, why the project was shelved by the Liberals.

When the Progressive Conservatives revived the project late in 2018, they also pledged to review the environmental assessment (EA) for the highway, allowing for a more “streamlined process for assessing potential environmental impacts.” This would allow for early works along the highway route such as new bridge construction or expansion to begin before the completion of the EA, expected in 2022.

“The previous Liberal government prematurely cancelled the environmental assessment on the GTA West Corridor, never released the lands, and, as a result, left hundreds of landowners in limbo for years without any plan to alleviate congestion in the Greater Toronto Area,” Yelich said.

“Our government is doing the due diligence that was never done on this project by following through with the Environmental Assessment process, which is among the most stringent assessment processes in the country, to determine if the GTA West Corridor is a viable project for York, Peel and Halton regions,” Yelich added. “We are fully committed to the consultation process.”

Ontario’s NDP and Liberal leaders are both pledging to kill the 413 highway, saying it’s costly, harmful and unnecessary.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said Ford is “benefiting his developer buddies who in turn end up filling the coffers” of the PC party while Liberal Leader Steve Del Duca said the premier is “focused exclusively on rewarding billionaire Conservative donors.”

The findings of the Observer/Torstar investigation raise questions about why the 413 highway was resurrected by the Ford government shortly after it was axed, who stands to benefit if it’s built and why the government has taken such contentious steps to speed development along the route.
1636902775252.png


Continued in the link...
 

EnviroTO

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,608
Reaction score
1,738
Location
Yonge & Mt.Pleasant
The scary grouping is that group at highway 27 which is the middle of the river valley / green belt intersection. The next article should find out if they pay taxes like Trump (i.e. don't) so we can understand if we the taxpayers are fully subsidizing these landowners and using our tax dollars to price our land our of our reach.
 

Krypto98

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Jan 19, 2019
Messages
414
Reaction score
728
I'm all for it but unless the other provincial parties support this corridor, nothing will happen.
I would love to see a north-crosstown corridor along the Halton-York-Kingston sub from Bramalea to Pickering but I think this is extremely unlikely to happen.
 

Ward8

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
191
Reaction score
579
Ah, the big bad evil developer story again. Isn’t it a little worn at this point? Perhaps they should do an “expose” on how developers own a bunch of land along the Ontario line too?
I mean, they should, and have. The Ontario line has some odd twists and turns that benefit specific people. Construction contracts are a dirty business. The 413 is absolutely a story of corruption. I don't know that it's even a controversial opinion at this point.
 

EnviroTO

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,608
Reaction score
1,738
Location
Yonge & Mt.Pleasant
Ah, the big bad evil developer story again. Isn’t it a little worn at this point? Perhaps they should do an “expose” on how developers own a bunch of land along the Ontario line too?
If we are far from a near monopoly situation and they pay a significant amount of taxes in line with the benefit they will directly see as a result of the freeway being built then I'm fine. I do have a problem with tax paying, transit riding, and not property owning people having their taxes directed to build infrastructure so tax avoiding, hummer driving, and massive property owning families can worsen the environment and make a big profit doing it. For the developers who are focused on building communities, helping to make housing affordable, looking towards LEED certification, not finding tax loopholes, driving efficient vehicles or taking transit, and not purchasing property for the sole purpose of cornering the market... I apologize for lumping them in with others.
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
17,525
Reaction score
17,180
If we are far from a near monopoly situation and they pay a significant amount of taxes in line with the benefit they will directly see as a result of the freeway being built then I'm fine. I do have a problem with tax paying, transit riding, and not property owning people having their taxes directed to build infrastructure so tax avoiding, hummer driving, and massive property owning families can worsen the environment and make a big profit doing it. For the developers who are focused on building communities, helping to make housing affordable, looking towards LEED certification, not finding tax loopholes, driving efficient vehicles or taking transit, and not purchasing property for the sole purpose of cornering the market... I apologize for lumping them in with others.
You do realize that about 86% of Canadian households own a car, right? And that Hummers haven't been produced for 14 years at this point (there is a niche Hummer EV being released but they aren't on the road yet)? And outside of central Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, this number likely exceeds 90%?

Most new subdivisions have lots that are about 330 square metres, about the same size as most inner city lots as well, by the way. Hardly "massive property owning families".

Developers own land all across the GTA that are in their "pipeline" without active development applications. It's hardly a surprise, it's not unethical, and it's just part of business. Some of them are farms, some of them are industrial lands, some are smaller existing buildings, etc. There is nothing illegal and nor should it be shown as "corruption" that people make investments in real estate. Sorry.

The debate can be made whether a new highway is an appropriate way to service growth, but insinuating that developers owning private land is somehow tied to direct corruption is false and misleading.
 

innsertnamehere

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
17,525
Reaction score
17,180
I mean, they should, and have. The Ontario line has some odd twists and turns that benefit specific people. Construction contracts are a dirty business. The 413 is absolutely a story of corruption. I don't know that it's even a controversial opinion at this point.
Is it? The Star seems to be digging pretty deep on this road and can't turn up anything more than "Developers own land on the edge of the GTA to develop it in the future! The Horror!". I'd say it's far from a foregone conclusion the highway is a result of corruption. The road has subject to a near decade-long EA process at this point and has been extensively justified with detailed reports. It's a project that well predates the current government, and is pretty clearly the idea of MTO and not some developer groups.

I know I remember developers actually quite disliking the highway years ago under the Liberals because the study had frozen thousands of acres from development while the study was completed, forcing developers to sit on land while MTO creeped through the EA until the land was released.
 

Northern Light

Superstar
Member Bio
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
22,184
Reaction score
55,193
Location
Toronto/EY
Is it? The Star seems to be digging pretty deep on this road and can't turn up anything more than "Developers own land on the edge of the GTA to develop it in the future! The Horror!". I'd say it's far from a foregone conclusion the highway is a result of corruption. The road has subject to a near decade-long EA process at this point and has been extensively justified with detailed reports. It's a project that well predates the current government, and is pretty clearly the idea of MTO and not some developer groups.

Corruption, in the sense that money or favour was directed at the MTO from developers is a very specific and serious allegation, that I have not heard evidence to support.

That the MTO has long favoured sprawl is not a secret. It has never been a good ministry from a public policy perspective. If you believe air and water pollution don't matter, urban sprawl is fine and extinctions/extirpations are no big issue, then sure its excellent public policy ..........elsewise.........

Now that said, senior staff within the ministry are at least in some measure political appointees. That virtually every provincial government (possibly excepting the NDP, but I'd have to check) ...from the period where this highway was first concieved, to today, has been the recipient of significant donations from developers is not a matter of dispute, nor illegal. It is, however, a conflict-of-interest in at least some measure. To the extent one could establish a quid-pro-quo link between the policy and the donors.........it certainly doesn't set the bar very high if one is comfortable with that.

I know I remember developers actually quite disliking the highway years ago under the Liberals because the study had frozen thousands of acres from development while the study was completed, forcing developers to sit on land while MTO creeped through the EA until the land was released.

Entirely possible; though may also have been political theatre, which again both leading parties of governance have engaged in...........

The gov't responsible for the first iteration of Rouge Park...........'saved' the already publicly owned land.......from..........itself.
Having first mooted a large landfill for the Rouge and later, the Morningside Expressway. They then 'cancelled' those projects (which never really started); and crowned themselves heros.........

A well worn tactic.

Get someone or some group to lobby for an idea you don't intend to deliver, then claim credit for saying 'no'.
Or in the inverse, get a group to oppose an idea, to make it more popular. (ie if the developers opposed it, it must be good).
 

Ward8

Active Member
Member Bio
Joined
Sep 6, 2020
Messages
191
Reaction score
579
Corruption may have been too strong of a word, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence for whats known as "soft corruption." Something that is technically legal, but in no way ethical. When they push forward on a project that is unpopular, (at least with all of the relevant municipalities) has already been shelved as unnecessary and expensive, and goes against everything we know in modern planning, not to mention our climate obligations, you have to wonder who benefits. In this case, other than a limited number of off peak drivers, it's the PCs biggest contributors stand to gain the most. I think we'd be naive to think it's a coincidence.
 

EnviroTO

Senior Member
Member Bio
Joined
Apr 22, 2007
Messages
4,608
Reaction score
1,738
Location
Yonge & Mt.Pleasant
Most new subdivisions have lots that are about 330 square metres, about the same size as most inner city lots as well, by the way. Hardly "massive property owning families".
I'm not talking about the families that buy homes... I'm talking about the massive development companies controlled by families and the large tracts of land they control. The more small to midsize developers there are, the more competition there will be, the lower the prices are likely to be, and the less these highway investments will lead to economic benefits that are disparately benefitting a few development families. I trust a company publicly traded on the stock market more than a family controlled business because they are more accountable to a larger audience, the ways that family members are compensated and the taxes they owe are visible to more people, and the benefit is distributed to more people, shareholders, and staff.

Developers own land all across the GTA that are in their "pipeline" without active development applications. It's hardly a surprise, it's not unethical, and it's just part of business. Some of them are farms, some of them are industrial lands, some are smaller existing buildings, etc. There is nothing illegal and nor should it be shown as "corruption" that people make investments in real estate. Sorry.
Pretty sure I didn't call anything corruption. A few large companies buying up all the land allows properties to be sold for higher than if there were many more small to midsize development companies in the market.

The debate can be made whether a new highway is an appropriate way to service growth, but insinuating that developers owning private land is somehow tied to direct corruption is false and misleading.
Again, pretty sure I didn't indicate there was corruption. But similar to laws that allowed big box corporations to be open during the pandemic and small business to be forced closed, this is another example of feeding a business model that is not great for the people. What is happening in the Portlands and Waterfront is what should be happening... a focus on communities, people, and the environment. What this is... is the opposite.
 

Top