Transcript: How to Create Big Cities | Mar 05, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and gray tie.

A caption on screen reads "How to create big cities. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says A CERTAIN VERY BIG CITY IN THIS PROVINCE OFTEN TAKES UP MUCH OF THE OXYGEN WHERE IT COMES TO URBAN PLANNING AND HOW TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE ISSUES OF ALL KINDS. NOT TONIGHT. INSTEAD, WE'RE LOOKING AT SMALLER AND MID-SIZED CITIES, TO FIND OUT HOW THEY'RE BUILDING GREAT CITYSCAPES OF THEIR OWN. HERE ON HOW THEY'RE DOING IT, WE WELCOME: JOHN FLEMING, HE'S THE VP FOR THE COUNCIL FOR CANADIAN URBANISM AND AN ADJUNCT PROFESSOR AT WESTERN UNIVERSITY, FORMERLY THE CHIEF PLANNER FOR THE CITY OF LONDON...

John is in his fifties, bald, with a trimmed goatee. He's wearing a black suit and shirt.

Steve continues MARY LOU TANNER, PARTNER AND PRINCIPAL PLANNER WITH THE NIAGARA PLANNING GROUP, AND FORMERLY THE CHIEF PLANNER FOR THE NIAGARA REGION...

Mary Lou is in her fifties, with short wavy blond hair. She's wearing a purple blazer over a black shirt, a pendant necklace and silver hoop earrings.

Steve continues JASON THORNE, GENERAL MANAGER OF PLANNING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, CITY OF HAMILTON...

Jason is in his late thirties, with mid-parted brown hair and a stubble. He's wearing glasses, and a gray shirt.

Steve continues AND JO FLATT, VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE STRATEGY and PLANNING, ALLIED REIT, AND THE FORMER PROGRAM DIRECTOR AT EVERGREEN, WHERE SHE LED THE MID-SIZED CITIES PROGRAM. GOOD TO HAVE ALL OF YOU ON OUR PROGRAM TONIGHT.

Jo is in her thirties, with shoulder-length curly dark hair. She's wearing a black blazer and a white shirt.

Steve continues JO, I WANT TO START WITH YOU. A LOT OF THE CITIES AROUND TORONTO HAVE SEEN MAJOR GROWTH, BUT IT'S SAID THAT THE JOBS AND THE GROWTH ARE STILL CENTERED AROUND THE 416. WHY?

The caption changes to "Jo Flatt. Allied Properties Real Estate Investment Trust."
Then, it changes again to "Preparing for growth."

Jo says BECAUSE GROWTH ATTRACTS GROWTH. SO ONCE YOU HAVE THAT HOTBED, THE PLACE WHERE PEOPLE ARE COMING AND GOING TO, IT JUST HAS A PERPETUAL GROWTH AND ATTRACTION OF PEOPLE AND PLACES AND BUSINESSES FROM ALL ACROSS THE COUNTRY, AND FROM OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY. SO RIGHT NOW, WHEN WE HAVE PEOPLE, 300,000, NEWCOMERS COMING TO CANADA EVERY YEAR, A LARGE PROPORTION OF THOSE ARE ACTUALLY ENDING UP IN OUR GATEWAY CITIES, ONE OF WHICH IS TORONTO. SO YOU HAVE MORE AND MORE PEOPLE COMING INTO THE HEART BED AND AREA OF GROWTH IN THE CENTRE.

The caption changes to "John Fleming. Council for Canadian Urbanism. Western University."

John says I'LL JUMP IN ON THAT. JUST AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE CHALLENGE YOU HAVE IN A CITY LIKE LONDON, LOOKING AT THAT IMMIGRATION... I WAS LOOKING AT SOME NUMBERS THE OTHER DAY, TORONTO IN AND AROUND 400,000 IMMIGRANTS WITHIN A 5-YEAR CENSUS PERIOD, AND YOU CAN IMAGINE WHAT THAT DOES FOR GROWTH VERSUS ABOUT THE 500,000 TO 600,000 THAT LONDON HAD DURING THAT SAME PERIOD OF TIME. SO WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING AT SOME OF THOSE DRIVERS OF GROWTH, IMMIGRATION HAS BECOME SO IMPORTANT, AND YOUR ABILITY AS A MID-SIZED CITY TO ATTRACT IMMIGRANTS WHEN YOU DON'T HAVE MAYBE THAT CRITICAL MASS OF THOSE POPULATIONS WITH THE ETHNIC KIND OF NORMS AND COMMUNITIES THAT IMMIGRANTS ARE OFTEN LOOKING FOR, IT CAN BE REALLY CHALLENGING FOR THOSE MID-SIZED CITIES.

Steve says THAT'S WHAT I WANT TO GET TO. JASON, MAYBE YOU CAN PICK UP THE STORY FROM THERE. AS YOU SAY, GROWTH PROVOKES MORE GROWTH. BUT WHAT IS THE SPARK THAT STARTS THE INITIAL GROWTH THAT THEN PROVOKES FURTHER GROWTH?

The caption changes to "Jason Thorne. City of Hamilton."

Jason says WELL, I THINK OVERALL GROWTH IN TORONTO IS A GOOD THING. IT'S A GOOD THING FOR THE WHOLE REGION. IT'S SOMETHING WE ALL BENEFIT FROM. WHAT WE'RE SEEING RIGHT NOW IS A LOT OF INTEREST FROM PEOPLE WHO WANT TO LIVE IN CITIES BUT FOR WHATEVER REASON TORONTO MIGHT NOT BE AN OPTION FOR THEM. WE OFTEN HEAR THAT IN THE CONTEXT OF AFFORDABILITY. NOT JUST FOR PEOPLE LOOKING FOR HOMES. WE HEAR THAT FROM BUSINESSES, WE HEAR THAT FROM PEOPLE WHO WANT TO OPEN RESTAURANTS AND OPEN SMALL STORES. THEY TOO ARE LOOKING FOR A PLACE WHERE THEY CAN STILL BE IN A CITY BUT MAYBE TORONTO IS NOT THE CITY FOR THEM. AND I THINK, IF WE LOOK AT SORT OF THE CATALYST FOR WHAT HAS REALLY KICKED OFF GROWTH IN HAMILTON, A LOT OF IT IS PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING FOR A REAL AUTHENTIC URBAN EXPERIENCE, BUT MAYBE NOT IN TORONTO. AND WHEN YOU LOOK AROUND THE REGION, THERE ACTUALLY AREN'T A LOT OF PLACES THAT OFFER THAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITY AND MANY HAVE REALLY STARTED TO ZERO IN ON HAMILTON.

Steve says WHEN YOU SAY AN AUTHENTIC URBAN EXPERIENCE, YOU'RE DIFFERENTIATING BETWEEN A SUBURB OR EX--URBAN EXPERIENCE WITH A REAL ONE?

The caption changes to "Jason Thorne. City of Hamilton."

Jason says YES, FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO AREN'T GOING TO BE SATISFIED IN A BEDROOM COMMUNITY, IN A BEDROOM SUBURB, AND ARE LOOKING FOR THE KINDS OF THINGS THAT YOU'RE USED TO HAVING IN A CITY: THE RESTAURANTS, THE CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES, THE ARTS OPPORTUNITIES, DIVERSE OPPORTUNITIES FOR SHOPPING, ALL OF THOSE TYPES OF THINGS, WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THOSE KIND OF URBAN OPPORTUNITIES, THERE AREN'T A LOT OF PLACES OUTSIDE OF TORONTO THAT OFFER THAT TO THE SAME EXTENT. AND WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ARE MAKING THE SHIFT AND MOVING INTO HAMILTON, AGAIN WHETHER IT'S RESIDENTIAL OR WHETHER IT'S BUSINESSES, THOSE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR.

Steve says MARY LOU, I WOULD PRESUME YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR CITY... IF IT'S A MID-SIZED CITY, YOU WOULD LIKE IT TO BE A MAGNET BECAUSE OF INTRINSIC WONDERFUL QUALITIES THAT IT HAS AS OPPOSED TO, WELL, I WANT TO LIVE IN TORONTO BUT I CAN'T LIVE IN TORONTO BECAUSE IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE AND TORONTO IS TOO CRAZY AND THEREFORE I'M GOING TO PICK CITY X, Y, OR Z. FAIR TO SAY?

The caption changes to "Mary Lou Tanner. Niagara Planning Group."

Mary Lou says THAT'S ABSOLUTELY FAIR TO SAY. PEOPLE REALLY WANT, AS YOU DESCRIBE IT, AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE. THEY WANT PARKS, THEY WANT ACCESS FOR TRANSIT, THEY WANT BIKING AND THEY WANT A PLACE TO BUILD THEIR BUSINESS AND HAVE A REASONABLE COST OF LIVING. AND WE'RE SEEING PEOPLE... I MEAN, ONTARIO HAS SEEN THIS WITH PEOPLE MOVING TO PEEL REGION AND BRAMPTON AND MISSISSAUGA AND THE EXPLOSIVE GROWTH THERE AND NOW INTO HAMILTON, AND WE SEE IT IN NIAGARA WITH PEOPLE MOVING THEIR BUSINESSES TO NIAGARA BECAUSE THEY JUST HAVE TOO HIGH A TURNOVER RATE IN EMPLOYEES BECAUSE THE COST OF HOUSING IN THE GTA. WE SEE PEOPLE WHO ARE TAKING MORE OF A RISK IN MOVING TO BEYOND HAMILTON, INTO HAMILTON, BUT INTO WATERLOO REGION, KITCHENER, INTO NIAGARA, BECAUSE THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES THERE THAT THEY JUST CAN'T GET IN TORONTO ANYMORE. TORONTO ATTRACTING GROWTH IS A GOOD THING FOR SOUTHERN ONTARIO. IT TRULY IS. BECAUSE IT BRINGS TO THIS PART OF ONTARIO A POPULATION THAT WE HAVEN'T SEEN BEFORE. IT PROVIDES AN EMPLOYEE BASE, BUT IT ALSO PROVIDES INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP THAT WE HAVEN'T REALLY SEEN IN DECADES IN THIS PROVINCE.

Steve says LET ME PICK UP ON THE EMPLOYMENT ANGLE. JOHN, I'LL GO TO YOU ON THIS. PEOPLE OBVIOUSLY MOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE FOR A VARIETY OF REASONS, BUT ONE OF THE... I GUESS ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT THEY SOMETIMES HAVE IS, OKAY, I CAN'T DO TORONTO. LET'S SAY I WANT TO DO HAMILTON OR ST. CATHARINES OR NIAGARA FALLS. WHAT'S THAT GOING TO MEAN FOR MY SPOUSE? THE OPPORTUNITY FOR A SPOUSE TO GET A JOB WON'T BE THE SAME IN NIAGARA FALLS AS IT WOULD BE IN THE 416; FAIR TO SAY?

John says FAIR TO SAY.

Steve says SO WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT THAT?

The caption changes to "John Fleming, @jmfplan."

John says IT'S NOT EASY BUT A COUPLE OF THINGS. ONE IS I WANT TO TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE CHICKEN AND THE EGG. THAT IS, THAT MOST PEOPLE THINK... AND THERE'S AN ELEMENT OF TRUTH... THAT PEOPLE GO WHERE JOBS ARE, AND THAT IS THEIR PRIMARY DRIVING FORCE BEHIND WHERE THEY'LL LOCATE. AND WHAT RICHARD FLORIDA, MAYBE ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO, STARTED TO EXPLORE IS THE MAGNET THAT CAN BE CREATED BY A COMMUNITY THAT IS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE, AND WHEN YOU LOOK AT TALENT, TRYING TO ATTRACT TALENT, WHICH EVERY CITY IS WANTING TO DO, THE IDEA IS TO CREATE A GREAT CITY. SO SOME OF THOSE THINGS THAT MARY LOU WAS SPEAKING TO AROUND A CITY THAT HAS GREAT TRANSIT, GREAT COOL URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS, EXCELLENT ENTERTAINMENT, GREAT RECREATIONAL SPACES AND TRAIL SYSTEMS, THOSE ARE THINGS THAT A LOT OF PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR. AND IF THEY CAN FIND THAT WITH A GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE, THEN THAT'S SOMETHING THAT MIGHT ENCOURAGE THEM TO GO THERE. AND WHAT BUSINESSES AND INVESTMENT ARE LOOKING FOR ARE CITIES WHERE THEY KNOW THEY CAN ATTRACT THAT LABOUR FORCE. SO IT'S A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT THAN THE USUAL. WE CREATE JOBS AND THAT WILL ATTRACT PEOPLE. IT'S HOW CAN WE CREATE A GREAT CITY THAT WILL RETAIN AND ATTRACT A LABOUR FORCE WHICH, IN TURN, WILL ATTRACT THAT KIND OF GROWTH WE'RE LOOKING FOR.

The caption changes to "Jo Flatt, @JoFlatt."

Jo says I JUST WANT TO JUMP IN THERE. NOW WE HAVE MORE DIGITAL NOMADS, WE HAVE MORE REMOTE AND FLEX WORK. YOU'RE SEEING A LOT OF MID-SIZED CITIES INVESTING IN CO-WORKING SPACES. THEY HAVE COMMERCIAL SPACE IN THE DOWNTOWN. YOU CAN TURN AROUND AND CREATE SPACES THAT ENTREPRENEURS AND PEOPLE WITH SOME FLEX TIME WANT TO COME. AND IF YOU HAVE THIS QUALITY OF LIFE, YOU MIGHT HAVE ONE SPOUSE EMPLOYED IN AN INSTITUTION OR GOVERNMENT, YOU KNOW, THEY GO THERE FOR THEIR JOB, BUT THE PARTNER CAN NEGOTIATE WITH TORONTO TO SAY WE'LL COME IN TWO DAYS A WEEK, I'LL WORK REMOTELY FOR THREE DAYS. AND YOU CAN BE PART OF THAT STORY IN A VERY DIFFERENT WAY.

Steve says YOU STILL HAVE TO BE RELATIVELY CLOSE TO TORONTO FOR THAT TO HAPPEN. I MEAN, YOU PROBABLY CAN'T DO THAT IN CHATHAM OR YOU PROBABLY CAN'T DO THAT IN LONDON. YOU HAVE TO BE SORT OF CLOSE TO TORONTO TO MAKE THAT WORK, DON'T YOU?

Jo says I THINK IT DEPENDS ON THE JOB AND HOW OFTEN YOU MAY NEED TO GO INTO TORONTO. THERE ARE JOBS THAT ARE ENTIRELY REMOTE AND YOU CAN WORK FROM YOUR LIVING ROOM EVERY SINGLE DAY AND THERE ARE JOBS THAT MIGHT REQUIRE YOU COME INTO THE BIG CITY.

The caption changes to "Jason Thorne, @JasonThorne_RPP."

Jason says THE DIGITAL NOMADS ARE MAKING MOBILITY VERY COMPLICATED. WHETHER THEY WORK A BIT FROM HOME, A BIT FROM THE OFFICE, YOU HAVE TWO INCOME FAMILIES AND PEOPLE TURNING OVER JOBS EVERY FIVE, SIX, SEVEN YEARS. THEY'RE NOT STAYING ONE PLACE 30 YEARS AND WORKING NINE TO FIVE SHIFTS. THAT'S WHERE SOME OF THE CHALLENGES FOR MID-SIZED CITIES OR ANY CITY IN THE REGION IS THAT CONNECTIVITY FOR PEOPLE IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. PEOPLE ARE MOVING AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY, ALL DAYS OF THE WEEK. A LOT OF THE GROWTH WE'RE SEEING IN HAMILTON... WE'RE STILL VERY FAR FROM BEING A BEDROOM COMMUNITY. MOST OF OUR COMMUTING STILL HAPPENS WITHIN THE CITY OF HAMILTON. WE'RE GETTING PEOPLE COMING WHO MAYBE THEY NEED TO GET TO TORONTO ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK AND IT'S NOT AT 9 A.M., IT'S AT NOON. SO HOW DO YOU ACTUALLY ACCOMMODATE A TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM THAT HAS PEOPLE MOVING IN ALL DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS AT ALL DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE DAY AND DIFFERENT DAYS OF THE WEEK. YOU CAN NO LONGER PREDICT IT. IF YOU DO, IT'S PROBABLY GOING TO CHANGE THAT IN THREE OR FOUR YEARS ANYWAY.

John says I AGREE. WHATEVER CAN BE DONE IS TO IMPROVE THAT CONNECTIVITY. YOU SEE HIGH-SPEED RAIL AS A NETWORK CONNECTING MUNICIPALITIES OF VARIOUS DIFFERENT SIZES. IT SUPPORTS BIG CITIES BUT IT ALSO REALLY PROVIDES THAT OPPORTUNITY FOR MID-SIZED CITIES TO GROW AS WELL.

Jo says AND RURAL OR REMOTE ONES TOO. CONNECTIVITY TO A LARGE URBAN CORE MEANS YOU CAN STAY AS A FARMER AND LIVE IN A REMOTE AREA BECAUSE YOU CAN STILL ACCESS PLACES YOU NEED TO GO.

Steve says HOW CLOSE ARE WE TO THAT VISION YOU PUT FORWARD?

John says THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL CONVERSATION CONTINUES. WE'LL SAY THAT. I THINK AT THIS POINT, OUR PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT ISN'T TOO ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THE IDEA AND MOVING FORWARD QUICKLY, BUT I THINK THERE'S AN ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT PROCESS THAT IS UNDERWAY, IF I'M CORRECT. BUT I DO THINK THAT THERE'S A PRESSURE THAT MAYBE PEOPLE AREN'T THINKING OF AND THAT IS THE 401 AND THE CONGESTION THAT'S OCCURRING ON THE 401 AND THE NEED TO MOVE GOODS AND SERVICES ALONG THAT CORRIDOR AT SOME OF THE BUSIEST BORDER CROSSINGS IN NORTH AMERICA, BEING DETROIT, PORT HURON, AND DOWN AT BUFFALO. AND TO CREATE CAPACITY, THERE ARE A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT WAYS WE COULD DO IT. ONE IS WE COULD EXPAND THE WIDTH OF HIGHWAY 401 AND THE 400 SERIES, AND WE KNOW WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WIDEN ROADS.

Steve says THE TRAFFIC WILL...

John says YOU'LL CREATE MORE TRAFFIC. OR WE CAN GET TO SOMETHING MUCH MORE SUSTAINABLE, WHICH IS GETTING THOSE THAT ARE COMMUTING, THOSE THAT ARE TAKING DISCRETIONARY TYPES OF TRIPS THAT DON'T NEED TO BE ON THE HIGHWAY USING SOMETHING LIKE HIGH-SPEED RAIL. AND LET'S NOT JUST THINK ABOUT IT IN TERMS OF THE DEMAND THAT'S THERE ALREADY, BUT WHAT KIND OF USE COULD OCCUR IF WE GET THAT INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE AND TRIPS BETWEEN LONDON AND WATERLOO. YOU CAN HAVE THESE REALLY COMPLEMENTARY FLOWS THAT AREN'T POSSIBLY OCCURRING NOW THAT COULD OCCUR WITH THAT KIND OF INFRASTRUCTURE.

Steve says MARY LOU, LET ME PUT THIS TO YOU. HOW MUCH OF GEOGRAPHY IS DESTINY IN THIS CASE? IN OTHER WORDS, A CITY... IF YOU'VE GOT A WATERFRONT, IF YOU'RE ON WATER, AS I'M SURE MANY OF THE MUNICIPALITIES THAT YOU WERE RESPONSIBLE FOR WERE, HOW MUCH DOES THAT INFLUENCE WHAT YOU'RE ABOUT TO CREATE?

The caption changes to "Mary Lou Tanner, @MLTPlanner."

Mary Lou says IT'S A BIG PART OF IT FOR SURE. AND PEOPLE WANT CITIES THAT ARE ON THE WATER. THE HISTORY OF THIS COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON RAIL AND MARINE INFRASTRUCTURE AND THE GREAT LAKES SEAWAY SYSTEM. IN THIS PART OF ONTARIO, IT'S ACTUALLY MUCH MORE FUNDAMENTAL. THIS IS THE RAIL SYSTEM. IT IS GO TRANSIT AND THE INVESTMENT THERE AND USING THE CP AND CN LINES AND WHAT THAT CREATES IN TERMS OF A COMMUTER SHED. WHAT WE'RE NOW SEEING IN AREAS ALONG THOSE RAIL LINES IS PEOPLE COMMUTING OUT TO THOSE CITIES BECAUSE OF 15- AND 20-MINUTE SERVICE. BECAUSE YOU'RE NOT IN MIXED TRAFFIC, SO THERE'S A GREATER CERTAINTY YOU'RE GOING TO GET TO WHERE YOU WANT TO GO. BECAUSE IT'S 15- OR 20-MINUTE SERVICE, THE SCHEDULE BECOMES IRRELEVANT TO YOU BECAUSE YOU SHOW UP AND WITHIN 15 OR 20 MINUTES, YOU'RE ON A TRAIN AND YOU'RE ON YOUR WAY. AND SO WE ARE SEEING THAT IN BURLINGTON, WE ARE SEEING IT IN OAKVILLE, SEEING IT IN MISSISSAUGA, THAT PEOPLE ARE OUT COMMUTING FROM TORONTO INTO THOSE AREAS FOR WORK. WHAT IT MEANS IS LOCAL TRANSIT HAS TO GET REALLY, REALLY GOOD BECAUSE IT DOESN'T DO YOU ANY GOOD TO GET TO A PLACE LIKE OAKVILLE OR BURLINGTON AND THEN YOU'RE WAITING AN HOUR FOR A BUS OR A CONNECTION.

Steve says YOU'RE SAYING THEY SHOULD HAVE BUILT THE LRT IN HAMILTON?

Mary Lou says YES, I AM. ABSOLUTELY. BUT EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, IT'S INVESTING IN THAT LOCAL TRANSIT. YOU KNOW, AND THERE'S GOOD BUS SERVICE, AND MAKING SURE THAT YOU HAVE TRANSIT LEADERS WHO REALLY GET THAT MOVING PEOPLE IS THEIR NUMBER ONE THING AND FIGURING OUT HOW IT FITS WITH HOW THE CITY IS GOING TO GROW.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, agendaconnect@tvo.org, Instagram."

Steve says I WANT TO READ SOMETHING FROM MY OLD HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER. THIS IS FROM THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR, STEVE BULIS, WHO WAS HERE A COUPLE OF WEEKS AGO AND HE HAD THIS TO SAY ABOUT THE CONVERSATION WE'RE HAVING RIGHT NOW. SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Steve Buist."
In the clip, Steve Buist sits in the studio and speaks. He's in his fifties, with short white hair and a goatee.

He says GENTRIFICATION IS HAPPENING IN HAMILTON. THERE'S NO DOUBT ABOUT IT. WHAT'S CAUSING THE FRICTION IN HAMILTON IS THAT THE GENTRIFICATION IS HAPPENING GEOGRAPHICALLY IN PLACES THAT HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY AFFORDABLE PLACES FOR PEOPLE TO LIVE, AND SO, YOU KNOW, YOU, A HAMILTONIAN, KNOW, THAT THE LOWER CITY HAS THESE BEAUTIFUL OLD VICTORIAN HOMES. HOWEVER, SOME OF THESE VICTORIA HOMES MAY BE TWO-FAMILY HOMES OR THREE-FAMILY HOMES AND THEN ALL OF A SUDDEN THEY'RE CONVERTED BACK INTO BEING A BEAUTIFUL ONE-FAMILY HOME. AND SO YOU HAVE THIS DISPLACEMENT OF PEOPLE, RISING REAL ESTATE VALUES, YOU KNOW, IS A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD. IT'S GREAT FOR THOSE WHO ALREADY HAVE REAL ESTATE. IT'S NOT GREAT FOR PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET REAL ESTATE.

The clip ends.

Steve says THIS IS A HUGE ISSUE AND I WANT TO HAVE SOME DISCUSSION ABOUT THIS RIGHT NOW. JO, WHY DON'T YOU START US OFF HERE? WHAT HAPPENS TO THE COMMUNITIES, TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY THERE WHEN A LOT OF PEOPLE WANT TO LEAVE TORONTO BECAUSE IT'S UNAFFORDABLE AND THEY'VE DECIDED THEY WANT TO MOVE INTO POINTS BEYOND, WHAT HAPPENS TO THE ORIGINAL FOLKS?

The caption changes to "Adding without replacing."

Jo says I THINK IT'S A GREAT QUESTION. I THINK IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START PLANNING FOR HOUSING AFFORDABILITY ACROSS THE BOARD. SO EVEN CITIES LIKE SUDBURY OR ST. CATHARINES NEED TO BE THINKING ABOUT HOUSING AFFORDABILITY. WE KNOW WHEN YOU TREAT HOUSING LIKE A COMMODITY, WE RUN INTO ISSUES LATER ON IN LIFE. I THINK WHEN YOU LOOK AT SOME OF THE NUMBERS, WE'RE ACTUALLY SEEING SOME OF THE DOWNTOWNS IN OUR MID-SIZED CITIES ARE SEEING MORE DECLINE IN POPULATION THAN THE SUBURBAN AREAS. WE MIGHT HAVE AN INTERESTING DYNAMIC HERE WHERE WE CAN THINK ABOUT MOVING TORONTONIANS INTO AREAS LIKE THE DOWNTOWN, NOT IN CASES LIKE HAMILTON WHERE THERE ARE THERE'S A HUGE DEMAND, GENT! WE KNOW THAT COMMUNITIES GENTRIFY WHEN MORE PEOPLE COME THERE.

Steve says DO YOU WANT TO WEIGH IN ON THAT, JOHN?

John says I WOULD. AFFORDABLE HOUSING, JUST AS JO SAYS, IS KEY. AND INTENSIFYING IS PART OF THAT. SO IN LONDON THERE'S THIS MAJOR EFFORT THROUGH OUR LONDON PLAN OR MOST RECENT OFFICIAL PLAN TO GROW INWARD AND OUTWARD. IT CREATES AN OPPORTUNITY FOR GREATER INTENSITY, IT TENDS TO BRING DOWN THE COST OF UNITS, PARTICULARLY WHEN YOU'RE WORKING HARD WITH PROGRAMS TO INJECT AFFORDABLE HOUSING. THEN TO CONNECT THAT WITH TRANSPORTATION IS KEY BECAUSE THERE'S NOT... IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO HAVE AN AFFORDABLE UNIT OUT IN SOME REMOTE LOCATION WHERE SOMEBODY IS LOCKED TO A CAR AND ALL THE EXPENSES THAT GO WITH IT OR TAKING A BUS SYSTEM THAT HAS A VERY LOW RIDERSHIP AND IS PROBABLY INFREQUENT. IT NEEDS TO BE RELIABLE, CONSIST TRANSIT, SOMETHING LIKE A RAPID TRANSIT LINE. I WANT TO POINT OUT THAT THESE THINGS ARE EXPENSIVE. THIS IS WHAT THE CHALLENGE IS FOR MID-SIZED CITIES. I LIKE FOR THE CAPITAL BUDGET OF THE CITY OF TORONTO, IT'S ABOUT $40 BILLION OVER TEN YEARS. I LOOK FOR THE SAME THING FOR LONDON IT'S ABOUT $1.5 TO $2 BILLION. WHAT'S OUR OPPORTUNITY TO BUILD A RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM RELATIVELY QUICKLY? WHERE IS THE MONEY FOR US TO INVEST SIGNIFICANTLY INTO AFFORDABLE HOUSING? THEN I LOOK AT SOMETHING LIKE THE PLACES TO GROW PLAN AND THE ACT, AND LONDON'S NOT ON IT. I WAS ASTOUNDED BACK IN ABOUT 2006 WHEN I SHOWED UP AT THE MINISTRY OFFICE AND I SAW THIS PLAN... MAYBE IT WAS 2004... AND THESE ARE THE PLACES TO GROW AND THEN THERE WAS... LONDON WASN'T EVEN ON THE MAP AND THERE WAS AN ARROW TO WINDSOR AND SARNIA THAT WAY, DOWN THE 401.

Steve says THAT'S A BIT WEIRD SINCE THE DEPUTY PREMIER OF THE DAY WAS FROM LONDON. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

[LAUGHTER]

John says MY POINT IS... I'M GOING TO AVOID THAT QUESTION. MY POINT IS THAT YOU NEED TO BE ON THE MAP. AS A MID-SIZED CITY, THERE NEEDS TO BE HELP FOR THESE EXPENSIVE PROGRAMS THAT MUNICIPAL BUDGETS THROUGH TAX REVENUES JUST CANNOT AFFORD. AND THOSE THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT TO THE FUTURE OF A CITY AND THOSE ISSUES LIKE...

Steve says I SHOULD FOR CLARIFICATION TAKE THAT BACK. I'M NOT SURE SHE WOULD DEPUTY PREMIER JUST YET. DEB MATTHEWS I'M TALKING ABOUT. BUT SOON TO BE. ANYWAY...

Jason says STEVE WAS OBVIOUSLY TALKING ABOUT HAMILTON AND I LIKE HIS ANALOGY OF THE DOUBLE EDGED SWORD BECAUSE A CITY'S SUCCESS CAN BE A DOUBLE EDGED SWORD AND I WATCHED THAT EPISODE WITH A LOT OF INTEREST. SOMEONE WHO GREW UP IN HAMILTON IN THE '80s, TO THINK SOME DAY WE WOULD BE HAVING A GENETICS DISCUSSION BUT WE ARE AND IT'S AN IMPORTANT CONVERSATION. TO FOLKS USED TO THE TORONTO MARKET MAY LOOK TO HAMILTON AND SAY THAT'S VERY AFFORDABLE HOUSING, MAYBE THAT'S THE CASE ON A TORONTO SALARY. IN HAMILTON WE ACTUALLY HAVE ONE OF THE BIGGEST GAPS IN TERMS OF... IT USED TO BE THE AVERAGE HOUSE PRICE WAS ABOUT FOUR TIMES THE MEDIAN INCOME. NOW IT'S UPWARDS OF SEVEN TIMES, WHICH IS ONE OF THE HIGHEST RATES IN THE COUNTRY. TORONTO IS UP 8 OR 9 TIMES THE AVERAGE HOUSEHOLD INCOME. THAT'S A SIGNIFICANT CONCERN IN HAMILTON. AND I THINK A KEY PART OF RESPONDING TO THAT IS... ONE IS MAKING SURE WE'RE BRINGING ON HOUSING SUPPLY IN OUR LOWER CITY. WE'VE BEEN PUSHING HARD TO INCREASE HOUSING SUPPLY IN THE LOWER CITY. WE OFFER A NUMBER OF INCENTIVES TO TRY TO GET RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT HAPPENING SO WE'RE BRINGING MORE PRODUCT TO MARKET. HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL PUT IN PLACE A 50 MILLION dollar AFFORDABLE HOUSING FUND. THAT'S A BIG TICKET ITEM FOR A CITY THE SIZE OF HAMILTON. BUT ALSO STEVE MADE A VERY GOOD POINT IN HIS COMMENT ABOUT HOW MANY OF THOSE HOMES, MY OWN HOME INCLUDED, I LIVE IN DOWNTOWN HAMILTON, USED TO HOUSE MULTIPLE FAMILIES. IT USED TO BE VERY NORMAL TO HAVE A LODGER OR TO HAVE A MULTI-GENERATIONAL HOME OR TO HAVE AN INCOME PROPERTY... INCOME APARTMENT AS PART OF YOUR HOME. WE'VE MOVED AWAY FROM THAT... NOT JUST IN HAMILTON, IN ALL THE CITIES IN THE REGION. WE'VE MOVED AWAY FROM THAT. I KNOW IN TORONTO AND HAMILTON IS DOING THE SAME THING, WE'RE TRYING TO GET INTO THAT.

Steve says THERE MAY BE ONE SENIOR CITIZEN LIVING IN ONE OF THOSE BEAUTIFUL DOWNTOWN HOMES IN HAMILTON WHO ARE OVERHOUSED, IF YOU WANT TO PUT IT THAT WAY.

Jason says OR A COUPLE WITH NO CHILDREN. THAT'S NOT UNCOMMON. FOR ALL THE CONSTRUCTION IN HAMILTON, THE INFLUX OF POPULATION, IT'S STILL DECLINING BECAUSE YOU HAVE FEWER PEOPLE LIVING IN THE HOME. WE'VE TRIED TO DO THINGS LIKE CREATING PERMISSIONS FOR LANEWAY HOUSES AND BASEMENT APARTMENTS, THOSE SORTS OF THINGS, PUTTING IN FINANCIAL INCENTIVES FOR SOME OF THOSE THINGS TO HAPPEN TO TRY TO ACTUALLY CREATE AS MUCH HOUSING OPPORTUNITY OUT OF THE HOUSING STOCK THAT WE HAVE. THOSE ARE ALL PARTS OF THAT RESPONDING TO AFFORDABILITY AND THE FEARS THAT, AS NEW PEOPLE COME, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE NOW WILL HAVE TO MOVE OUT. WE DON'T WANT THAT TO HAPPEN.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Steve says LET ME ASK MARY LOU ABOUT THAT. A PLANNER SUCH AS YOURSELF LOVE THE IDEA, I HOPE I'M NOT PUTTING WORDS IN YOUR MOUTH, BUT INTENSIFICATION IS WHERE WE'RE AT. WE DON'T WANT ANY MORE SPRAWL AND SERVICES EVER FURTHER AWAY FROM THE MAIN CORE. BUT HOW DO YOU INTENSIFY A MID-LEVEL CITY WHICH MAYBE PEOPLE MOVE TO IN THE FIRST PLACE BECAUSE THEY WANTED TO GET AWAY FROM THE INTENSIFICATION OF TORONTO. HOW DO YOU GET THEM ON SIDE WITHOUT ALIENATING THEM?

Mary Lou says WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS THAT NEED TO HAPPEN, AND A CONVERSATION ABOUT INTENSIFICATION AND GROWTH SHOULD BE HARD. A CONVERSATION ABOUT EXPANDING YOUR URBAN BOUNDARY INTO FARM SHOULD BE HARD. THESE SHOULD NOT BE EASY CONVERSATIONS, AND THEY ARE FUNDAMENTALLY VALUES-BASED CHOICES. IF YOU'RE NOT ON FOR EXPANDING INTO FARMLAND, THEN THAT DRIVES DIFFERENT CONVERSATIONS AND DIFFERENT CHOICES. IT IS CERTAINLY NOT EASY BUT THINGS LIKE JASON TALKED ABOUT, LANEWAY HOUSING, PUTTING AN APARTMENT IN A HOUSE. WHEN I WORKED IN NIAGARA, WE DID A VERY SIMPLE THING. WE SAID IF YOU'RE A FARMER AND YOU WANT TO RETIRE AND YOU WANT TO PUT AN APARTMENT IN YOUR FARMHOUSE, GO AHEAD. WE'RE GOOD WITH THAT.

Steve says THAT'S AGAINST THE BY-LAW NOW IN MOST RURAL MUNICIPALITIES IN THE PROVINCE.

Mary Lou says IT REALLY IS. WE SAID, OKAY, WE'RE ON FOR THAT, AND WE SEE IT HAPPENING. YOU HAVE TO BE ABLE TO HAVE THOSE DIFFICULT CONVERSATIONS. ONE OF THE THINGS WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT IS WHO IS GOING TO LIVE THERE? AND SOMETIMES IT'S SCARY FOR THOSE PEOPLE. SOMETIMES IT'S YOUR PARENTS, LIKE THE FARMER RETIRING, AND IT'S YOUR KIDS TOO. IF YOU WANT YOUR KIDS AND YOUR PARENTS TO HAVE A REASONABLE QUALITY OF LIFE, EITHER STARTING OR CHANGING THEIR HOUSING, THEN THERE NEEDS TO BE A RANGE OF OPTIONS AND IT NEEDS TO BE ON TRANSIT LINES BECAUSE I KNOW MY PARENTS IN THEIR 70s AND 80s DID NOT DRIVE AND SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DRIVING, AND I KNOW THAT, YOU KNOW, MOST OF MY FAMILY MEMBERS IN THEIR 20s WANT NOTHING TO DO WITH A CAR. SO IT IS TRANSIT AND HOUSING TOGETHER. AND WHEN YOU DO THAT, IT'S CREATING AFFORDABLE OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE THAT, WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, IT REALLY IS YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS.

Steve says BUT, JO, I DO WANT TO GET BACK TO THE POLITICAL ISSUE HERE, BECAUSE POLITICIANS REPRESENT ACTUAL PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY THERE. THEY DON'T YET, I THINK, THEY DON'T YET THINK OF THEMSELVES, I'M ALSO REPRESENTING THE POTENTIAL PEOPLE WHO MAY MOVE IN. SO THE INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE, WHO MAY NOT WANT THEIR NEIGHBOURHOODS INTENSIFIED, THAT'S GOING TO HAVE PRIMACY IN ANY CONVERSATION THAT MARY LOU WANTS TO HAVE. SO HOW DO YOU MAKE SOME PROGRESS ON THAT?

Jo says IT'S CHALLENGING. I THINK IT'S REALLY IMPORTANT TO LOOK AT... YOU KNOW, THERE'S A DIRECT CORRELATION BETWEEN A CITY'S OPENNESS AND THEIR ECONOMIC GROWTH. SO THERE'S COMMUNICATION, THERE'S CONVERSATIONS DIFFICULT, NOT DIFFICULT, THAT NEED TO BE HAD, THE NIMBY MOVEMENT MEETING THE YES IN MY BACK YARD. TO YOUR POINT, CHANGE IS DIFFICULT BUT IT'S THE ONLY CONSTANT. SO UNLESS WE CHOOSE AND DECIDE AND OUR POLITICIANS MAYBE TAKE A FEW RISKS OR SAY SOME THINGS THAT THEY THINK ARE IN FAVOUR OF THE FUTURE OF THE COMMUNITY, WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO ADDRESS THESE CHALLENGES.

Steve says JASON, HAS THERE BEEN A CULTURE CLASH IN HAMILTON BETWEEN THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE LIVED THERE FOR A LONG TIME AND KIND OF LIKE THE CITY THE WAY IT WAS AND THE CITY SLICKERS WHO ARE COMING DOWN THE Q.E.W. FROM TORONTO WHO ARE EXPECTING A BIT MORE OF THAT TORONTO LIFESTYLE OR THAT TORONTO VIBE IN HAMILTON?

Jason says I SUPPOSE THERE'S BEEN SOME. I HAVEN'T SEEN IT AS A SIGNIFICANT ISSUE. MAYBE IT WILL GROW AS MORE OF THAT INFLUX HAPPENS. WE CERTAINLY HAVE A LOT OF CONVERSATIONS AND WE'RE DOING NEW DEVELOPMENT IN EXISTING NEIGHBOURHOODS AND EXISTING URBAN AREAS, AND FOR ME PART OF THE SOLUTION HAS TO BE, THERE'S GOT TO BE SOMETHING IN IT FOR THE PEOPLE LIVING THERE NOW AS WELL. THE FACT THAT GROWTH IS THERE HAS TO HAVE SOME SORT OF BENEFIT FOR THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THERE NOW. IT HAS TO BRING IN, YOU KNOW, NEW PARKS. IT HAS TO CREATE A CRITICAL MASS OF POPULATION TO SUPPORT STORES AND SERVICES. THERE'S GOT TO BE SOMETHING FOR THOSE INDIVIDUALS AS WELL. AND IF YOU AREN'T INVESTING IN THOSE TYPES OF THINGS, I THINK YOU DO HAVE A PROBLEM TRYING TO EXPLAIN TO EXISTING RESIDENTS, WHY IS THIS GOOD FOR THE CITY AND NEIGHBORHOOD, IF YOU WANT TALK ABOUT SOME OF THOSE BENEFITS. YOU NEED TO TALK ABOUT GOOD URBAN DESIGN AND ARCHITECTURE. I'VE SEEN A LOT OF INFILL PROJECTS CREATE BACKLASH, NOT NECESSARILY BECAUSE PEOPLE DIDN'T WANT SIX OR SEVEN UNITS OR TEN STOREYS IN THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT BECAUSE IT WAS UGLY AND BECAUSE IT WAS NOT A GOOD FIT FOR THE LOT, BECAUSE THEY WERE TRYING TO SQUEEZE TOO MUCH ONTO TOO SMALL OF A PARCEL. SOMETIMES IT'S PUSHING BACK ON THOSE THINGS AND SAYING IF YOU'RE GOING TO INTENSIFY EXISTING NEIGHBOURHOODS, IF YOU'RE GOING TO INTRODUCE NEW ELEMENTS AND NEW POPULATION, IT SHOULD ADD TO THE BEAUTY AND QUALITY OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

Steve says CAN YOU TELL ME THIS? HAMILTON IS 500,000, 600,000 PEOPLE RIGHT NOW?

Jason says ABOUT 530.

Steve says 530. DOES IT HAVE AIMS TO BE A CITY OF A MILLION OR A MILLION AND A HALF PEOPLE?

Jason says OUR 2041 TARGET IS ABOUT 780,000. SO WE'RE GETTING UP INTO THAT NO LONGER BEING ABLE TO BE ON A MID-CITY PANEL, I'M GOING TO HAVE TO COME ONTO THE BIG CITY PANEL IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DECADES. CERTAINLY THE GROWING PAINS OF THAT IS NOT LOST ON THE CITY. THE INVESTMENT THAT'S GOING TO HAVE TO BE MADE IN TRANSIT IS A BIG ONE. BUT IN OUR LIBRARIES AND REC. FACILITIES AND COMMUNITY SERVICES, ALL OF THOSE SORTS OF THINGS, TO SUPPORT A POPULATION OF ALMOST 800,000 IS GOING TO BE A GAME CHANGER FOR HAMILTON.

Steve says LONDON IS HOW MANY PEOPLE RIGHT NOW?

John says ROUGHLY ABOUT 400,000.

Steve says DOES IT WANT TO BE DOUBLE THAT SIZE SOME DAY?

John says I THINK THE QUESTION IS: TO WHAT END?

Steve says BECAUSE GROWTH PROVOKES MORE GROWTH...

John says IS BIGGER BETTER AND TO WHAT DEGREE AND TO WHAT SIZE? WHEN DOES IT BECOME ABOUT QUALITY OF LIFE? AND CERTAINLY GROWTH IS IMPORTANT. BUT DO YOU NEED 5 percent, 10 percent GROWTH PER YEAR? DOES 1 percent, 2 percent DO IT? THAT WOULD BE HERESY FOR ME TO SAY TO SOME PEOPLE. THEY WOULD SAY THE MORE THE BETTER, AND IF YOU'RE NOT TALKING ABOUT RAPID GROWTH, THEN YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT DECLINE AS A COMMUNITY. NOT SO. I MEAN, THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR STABLE AND REASONABLE GROWTH. THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR MANAGING CONGESTION. THERE'S SOMETHING TO BE SAID FOR GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE. I'LL GIVE YOU AN EXAMPLE, STEVE. A FRIEND OF MINE RECENTLY MOVED AWAY FROM LONDON. HE LIVED IN OLD NORTH, WHICH IS A GREAT HERITAGE NEIGHBORHOOD, WALKING DISTANCE TO WORK AND THE CORE, ALL KINDS OF COMMERCIAL AND RESTAURANT TYPE OF AMENITIES. HE COULD HOP ONTO HIS BIKE AND GET ONTO THE RIVER PATHWAY IN A MOMENT'S NOTICE. HE'D GET TO WORK WITHIN ABOUT 10 TO 15 MINUTES WALKING. HE MOVED TO NORTH VANCOUVER. WITH THE MONEY THAT HE WAS ABLE TO SECURE FROM THE HOME THAT HE'S LIVING IN, SOME SORT OF COMPARABLE DEBT LEVELS, HE'S NOW LIVING IN A DUPLEX WHICH IS ON HALF OF A LOT OF A SEMI, SO BEHIND THAT. AND HE HAS THREE CHILDREN. SO I'M NOT SAYING THAT'S A NEGATIVE THING, BUT IT SHOWS YOU A LITTLE BIT OF THE TRADE-OFF OF BEING IN ONE TYPE OF CITY VERSUS ANOTHER. AND IS BIGGER ALWAYS BETTER? I ALWAYS WANT TO POINT OUT, AS YOU SAID AT THE OUTSET, A LOT OF OXYGEN IS TAKEN UP BY BIG CITIES.

Steve says YEAH.

John says AND THE THREE BIG CITIES IN OUR COUNTRY, MONTREAL, VANCOUVER, AND TORONTO, THERE'S ABOUT A THIRD OF OUR CANADIAN POPULATION LIVING IN THOSE CITIES. BUT THERE'S ALSO ABOUT A THIRD OF OUR CANADIAN POPULATION LIVING IN MID-SIZED CITIES BETWEEN 50,000 AND A MILLION PEOPLE. AND SO THESE ARE IMPORTANT CITIES. GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE. GREAT HERITAGE. FROM HIGH URBAN NEIGHBOURHOODS AND STREETS. YOU DON'T ALWAYS NEED TO BE THINKING THAT BIGGER IS BETTER.

Steve says THAT'S INTERESTING. JO, CAN YOU WEIGH IN ON THIS INASMUCH AS DOES EVERY... IN NORTHERN ONTARIO, THE CITIES ARE MOSTLY WORRIED ABOUT NEGATIVE POPULATION GROWTH. THEY WANT TO KEEP WHAT THEY'VE GOT. THEY DON'T HAVE ANY PRETENSES ABOUT BEING TWICE AS BIG AS THEY ARE NOW. THEY'D LOVE TO BE ABLE TO HANG ONTO WHAT THEY'VE GOT. DO YOU THINK CITIES SHOULD BE IN THE BUSINESS OF CONSTANTLY TRYING TO BE BIGGER, BIGGER, BIGGER ALL THE TIME? IS THAT WHERE IT'S AT?

Jo says IS THAT WHERE IT'S AT? I DON'T THINK THAT'S WHERE IT'S AT. I THINK IT'S THE ATTRIBUTES OF BIG THAT SHOULD BE EMULATED IN THE MID AND THE SMALL. SO WHAT IS IT THAT PEOPLE LIKE ABOUT BIG CITIES? THEY LIKE THAT THEY'RE TRANSIT CONNECTED. THEY LIKE THAT THERE'S COOL RETAIL EXPERIENCES. THEY LIKE THAT THEY'RE WALKABLE. THE MIXED USE... I THINK THOSE VALUES ARE GROWING INCREASINGLY IMPORTANT FOR BABY BOOMERS, FOR MILLENNIALS, REALLY ALL POPULATIONS. SO HOW CAN WE USE THE GREAT BONES OF OUR MID SIZED CITIES, MANY BUILT BEFORE WORLD WAR II, HAVE THE WATER FRONTS AND OTHER FEATURES THAT PEOPLE VALUE. IF YOU RESPECT THE STRENGTH OF THESE NEIGHBOURHOODS, SO SUPPORTING SUDBURY TO BE WHAT SUDBURY IS, SUPPORTING PETERBOROUGH TO BE WHAT PETERBOROUGH IS, IS REALLY CRITICAL. THAT AUTHENTIC URBAN EXPERIENCE DOESN'T COME FROM TRANSPLANTING TORONTO'S ETHOS, IT COMES FROM SAYING WHAT ARE THE STRENGTHS OF THIS PLACE AND HOW CAN WE BE OURSELVES IN THIS ENVIRONMENT?

Steve says YOU DON'T HAVE TO HAVE 2 MILLION PEOPLE THERE TO ENJOY THE ATTRIBUTES OF A CITY OF 2 MILLION PEOPLE.

Jo says ABSOLUTELY.

Steve says GOT IT.

Mary Lou says THERE ARE ALSO ATTRIBUTES OF NOT BEING IN THE CITY. GETTING INTO NATURE. GOING TO FARMS. LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS. WHEN YOU SUPPORT THAT KIND OF ECONOMY IN YOUR COMMUNITY. AND YOU SEE THAT IN MID-SIZED CITIES. YOU SEE IT IN SMALLER CITIES AS WELL. THAT PEOPLE REALLY CARE ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY CAN GET OUT INTO NATURE AND HIKE WITHIN FIVE OR TEN MINUTES OR THEY CAN GET TO THE FARMERS MARKET OR THEY CAN GET TO A FARM OR THAT YOU HAVE A LOCAL ARTS THRIVING INTERESTED AND ECONOMICALLY GROWING COMMUNITY THAT REALLY DRIVES THE ECONOMY. YOU KNOW, IN NIAGARA, 10 percent OF THE PEOPLE WORK IN THE ARTS ECONOMY. 10 percent. WAY MORE THAN ANY OTHER INDUSTRIAL BASE. AND SO SUPPORTING THAT KIND OF GROWTH IN THE ECONOMY IS REALLY INVESTING IN THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN YOUR CITY, NO MATTER ITS SIZE.

John says I THINK THERE'S AN INTERESTING PIECE ON MID-SIZED CITY IDENTITY AS WELL. THINK OF KINGSTON, QUEBEC CITY, HALIFAX, VICTORIA, HAMILTON... SO MANY CITIES HAVE THIS GREAT FLAVOUR AND IDENTITY IN MAKING UP THE FABRIC OF THE NATION WE LIVE IN AS WELL, THESE MID-SIZED CITIES. I'VE HAD SOME CONVERSATIONS WITH JASON ABOUT HAMILTON AND ITS IDENTITY. AND WHAT HAPPENS AS TORONTO STARTS TO SPILL OVER INTO HAMILTON AND HOW CAN YOU, AS A CITY, RETAIN YOUR IDENTITY, BECAUSE IT'S SO IMPORTANT. IT'S SOMETHING PEOPLE CHERISH. IT'S PART OF THEIR LIFE. WHO AM I? WHAT CITY DO I BELONG TO?

The caption changes to "Life in the city."

Steve says I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HAMILTON WANTS THE SAME KIND OF HOUSING SITUATION TORONTO HAS IN THIS REGARD: ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHUNKS OF HOME BUYERS IN THIS CITY ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE NOT BUYING IT TO LIVE IN IT BUT ARE BUYING IT AS AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY. THERE ARE PLENTY OF GOOD AND PLENTY OF BAD CONSEQUENCES THAT COME WITH THAT. WOULD YOU LIKE HAMILTON TO BE LIKE THAT AS WELL?

Jason says NO. AND THAT IS A CONCERN. AND FRANKLY, I THINK SOME OF THE POPULATION INFLUX WE'RE SEEING IN HAMILTON RIGHT NOW IS BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE GETTING PUSHED OUT OF TORONTO BY THAT VERY THING. I THINK THAT, AS JO SAID, THAT COMMODIFICATION OF HOUSING IS A PROBLEM IN ALL CITIES, IN ALL REGIONS. WE HAVE STARTED TO HAVE A BIT OF THAT CONVERSATION... WE HAVEN'T SEEN THAT TREND PICK UP REALLY SIGNIFICANTLY IN HAMILTON YET. WE'VE STARTED TO LOOK AT THE REGULATION OF AIRBNB FOLLOWING TORONTO'S LEAD, ACTUALLY. NOT THAT THEY HAVE A PROBLEM IN HAMILTON BUT WE WANT TO GET A LITTLE OUT AHEAD OF IT. FOR ME THE BENEFIT OF THE GROWTH IS THE PEOPLE THAT IT BRINGS, THE JOBS THAT IT CAN BRING, THE OPPORTUNITY THAT IT CAN BRING. EMPTY INVESTOR HOUSING DOESN'T BRING THOSE TYPE OF OPPORTUNITIES, SO THAT'S A CONCERN.

Steve says BUT YOU KNOW, BECAUSE YOU'RE IN TOUCH WITH REAL ESTATE PEOPLE, THAT HAMILTON IS... YOU KNOW, THEY THINK HAMILTON IS ABOUT TO BE THAT NEXT DOMINO IN THIS, RIGHT? THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING TO WANT TO BUY THERE, NOT TO LIVE THERE, BUT BECAUSE IT'S AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY. ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT THAT?

Jason says CONCERNED ABOUT IT. AND IT'S ON THE RADAR. IF PEOPLE ARE BUYING INVESTMENT PROPERTIES AND PUTTING THEM ON THE RENTAL MARKET. WE'RE SEEING A LOT OF THAT. I HAVE NO CONCERNS WITH THAT. THE SECONDARY RENTAL MARKET IS GROWING SIGNIFICANTLY IN HAMILTON. PEOPLE BUYING A COUPLE OF UNITS AND PUTTING IT OUT TO RENTAL. I THINK THAT'S GREAT. WHERE I'D BE CONCERNED IF WE START TO SEE WHAT I'VE SEEN IN TORONTO, WHAT HAS BEEN EXPERIENCED IN VANCOUVER, WHEN YOU START TO HAVE EMPTY HOUSING. THAT WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT CONCERN.

Steve says YOU'RE NOT THERE YET.

Jason says WE'RE NOT THERE YET. IT IS SOMETHING THAT WE'RE CERTAINLY WATCHING THAT TREND HAPPENING IN SOME OF THE OTHER BIGGER CITIES.

Steve says DO YOU EVER THINK ABOUT THAT FOR THE NIAGARA REGION?

John says OH, ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE PEOPLE CONTACTING US ALL THE TIME ABOUT BUILDING RENTAL HOUSING, ABOUT INVESTOR HOUSING, THE CITY OF NIAGARA FALLS IS DEALING WITH THE AIRBNB ISSUE.

Steve says NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, I IMAGINE. IT'S GOT TO BE BIG THERE TOO.

John says IT IS. ONE OF THE THINGS I'M REALLY PROUD OF, WE WORK WITH A NUMBER OF DEVELOPERS WHO ARE REALLY INVESTED IN THE COMMUNITY. SO WE'RE WORKING WITH ONE INDIVIDUAL WHO IS BUILDING RENTAL HOUSING IN NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, FIRST RENTAL HOUSING PROJECTS IN NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE IN A WHILE, AND IS GOING TO BE WORKING WITH THE SHAW TO PROVIDE HOUSING FOR ACTORS AND ACTRESSES, SO THEY HAVE AFFORDABLE, REASONABLE, CLEAN ACCOMMODATION. IT'S TIME WE STARTED THINKING DIFFERENTLY ABOUT HOUSING IN THIS PROVINCE BECAUSE WE SEE THE DOMINOES, AS YOU TALKED ABOUT, AND IT WILL SPREAD OUT. IT WON'T JUST BE HAMILTON, NIAGARA, IT WILL HIT WATERLOO AND GUELPH, IT WILL HIT LONDON. AND THE COMMODIFICATION OF HOUSING IS A REAL PROBLEM, IT'S PEOPLE WHO WANT TO GET THEIR FIRST HOUSE, WHO WANT TO FIND A QUALITY HOME. AND LOOKING AT DEALING WITH THE MOST VULNERABLE AND INVESTING IN TRULY AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND THEN, WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT RENTAL? AND THEN WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT MAKING HOME OWNERSHIP AFFORDABLE? IT'S NOT ONE SIZE FITS ALL AND WE USED TO THINK THAT YOU WOULD JUST GO UP THE PROPERTY LADDER AND WE NEED TO STOP THAT BECAUSE IT'S JUST CONTRIBUTING TO THE COMMODIFICATION OF HOUSING.

Steve says FAIR ENOUGH. JO, HOW ARE YOU GOING TO STOP IT? THIS THING TAKES ON A MOMENTUM AND FORCE OF ITS OWN.

Jo says IT 100 PERCENT DOES. I THINK FAVOURING DENSITY AND REALLY UNLOCKING EVERYTHING WE CAN... IN TORONTO, DESPITE OUR HOUSING CRISIS, IT TOOK US UNTIL JUST A FEW YEARS AGO TO UNLOCK LANEWAY HOUSING. TO ALL THE MID-SIZED CITIES, IT'S NOT ABOUT WAITING UNTIL THINGS ARE AT CRISIS MOMENT, IT'S BEING PROACTIVE. WORKING WITH DEVELOPERS. I THINK WE HAVE TO SEE THEM AS PARTNERS AND LEGACY BUILDING TO SAY HOW CAN YOU CREATE MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING STOCK? HOW DO WE MAKE THIS NEIGHBORHOOD LIVABLE AND CONSIDER ALL THESE FACTORS AS TO WHAT MAKES A GOOD HOME AND AN ACCESSIBLE HOME.

Steve says WE HAVE JUST A FEW MINUTES LEFT HERE. I GUESS I WANT TO HEAR SOME IDEAS FROM ALL OF YOU ON... IF ANYBODY FROM QUEEN'S PARK IS WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW, JOHN, WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL THEM ABOUT POLICIES THEY SHOULD BE ADVANCING IN ORDER TO REALIZE WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT?

John says KEEPING IN MIND MY PERSPECTIVE NOW IS NOT SO MUCH SPECIFICALLY FROM THE CITY OF LONDON BUT A BROADER ONE, I REALLY DO THINK THAT WE NEED TO THINK ABOUT CONNECTING MID-SIZED CITIES, REGIONS WITH BETTER RAIL SERVICE AND HIGH-SPEED RAIL I THINK IS AN ABSOLUTE NATURAL. YOU LOOK AT EUROPE, YOU LOOK AT CHINA, LOOK AT MANY OTHER PLACES ACROSS THE WORLD, THEY'RE CONNECTING THEIR CITIES WITH REALLY HIGH-QUALITY TRANSPORTATION AND PARTICULARLY TRAIN SERVICES. THE SECOND THING I WOULD SAY IS, FROM AN ONTARIO PERSPECTIVE, MAKE SURE MID-SIZED CITIES AND EVEN A NATIONAL PERSPECTIVE ARE FRONT AND CENTRE ALONG WITH BIG CITIES WHEN YOU'RE LOOKING AT INVESTMENT STRATEGIES. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO SUPPORT THOSE CITIES? THEY'RE IMPORTANT TO OUR COUNTRY. IT'S IMPORTANT WE SUPPORT THEM. AND THEN SOME LEADERSHIP FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF SOME OF THESE CONVERSATIONS ARE TOUGH. RAPID TRANSIT IS MAYBE THE MOST DIFFICULT. LIGHT RAIL RAPID TRANSIT, BUS RAPID TRANSIT, MID-SIZED CITIES, IT'S EXTREMELY DIVISIVE. FOR THE PROVINCE TO HELP MID-SIZED CITIES TO NAVIGATE THROUGH THOSE CONVERSATIONS WHERE THE POLITICS ARE TOO HOT IN MID-SIZED CITIES FOR COUNCILS TO TAKE THE WHOLE LOAD, I THINK THAT COULD BE REALLY HELPFUL.

Steve says ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD TO THAT LIST?

Mary Lou says I WOULD ADD TO THINGS. THE FIRST IS DEALING WITH HOUSING AFFORDABILITY AND IT MEANS INVESTING IN HOUSING AND SUPPORTING HOUSING ORGANIZATIONS TO DEVELOP... YOU KNOW, NIAGARA REGIONAL HOUSING, 285,000 dollars TO BUILD ONE APARTMENT. NO LAND COSTS ARE INCLUDED IN THAT. THAT'S JUST THE COST OF BUILDING THE UNITS. SO SUPPORTING THAT AND INVESTING IN THAT. AND I THINK THE OTHER THING... AND I HEARD THIS FROM JOHN SEVERAL YEARS AGO... IS WE TRULY NEED TO DEAL WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS IN CITIES. IT IS DRIVING SO MUCH OF WHAT WE SEE ON OUR ST. WHEN I WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO LAST YEAR, I WAS ABSOLUTELY STAGGERED AT THE HUMAN COST OF OPIOIDS. I SAW PEOPLE BEING TREATED AND BROUGHT BACK FROM DEAD. I SAW THE POLICE TAKE PEOPLE DOWN WITH THEIR GUNS AND WEAPONS DRAWN. AND I REALLY WORRY THAT IF WE'RE NOT DEALING WITH OPIOIDS IN THIS PROVINCE AND IN OUR COUNTRY, WE ARE GOING TO SEE THINGS IN OUR CITIES THAT ARE GOING TO JUST MAKE IT STAGGERINGLY EXPENSIVE TO DEAL WITH THE STUFF WE WANT TO INVEST IN IF WE'RE NOT TAKING CARE OF OUR MOST VULNERABLE ON OUR STREETS.

The caption changes to "Producer: Cara Stern, @carastern."

Steve says ON THAT RATHER DESPERATE NOTE, THAT'S OUR TIME. WE'LL HAVE TO GET YOU TWO BACK TO FINISH UP THAT CONVERSATION. JOHN FLEMING FROM LONDON, JO FLATT WHO HAS THREE TITLES AND I HAVEN'T GOT ENOUGH TIME TO GO THROUGH ALL OF THEM HERE. WE THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE LEFT-HAND SIDE OF THE TABLE. MARY LOU TANNER, FROM THE NIAGRA REGION, JASON THORNE, FROM THE CITY OF HAMILTON, WE THANK YOU FOR BEING ON THE RIGHT-HAND SIDE OF THE TABLE. GLAD TO HAVE YOU ALL HERE TONIGHT.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

All the guests say THANK YOU.

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