The City of Toronto Has Ended Up A Major Disappointment To Me As A Tax Payer


I’ll confess, I’m someone that sometimes, to the extreme, likes to make things work.  Those who know me well will tell you that I’ll keep at something until I have perfected it.

That’s how I became a top notch sales professional, by studying and applying and reapplying until I got it right.

That’s also how I became one of Toronto’s top producing Buyer Agents.

I’ve been living in Toronto all of my grown up life or at least for 40 years, as I’m not convinced that I was “grown up” when I first got here, as a photo arts “mature student” and many people may say that I can’t really say if and/or when I became one.  Each to their own opinion!

Even then, education threw me, and having been accustomed to earning money up to that point in my life, I once again “dropped out” and returned to what I do best . . . . sales.

I was fortunate in the late 1970’s to be retained by the Reichmann’s to help turn around their failing Queen’s Quay Residences and, one way or the other for most of the following four decades I’ve been somehow involved in Condo Land (Toronto condo market).

That’s what has made me so unique in Condo Land, I’ve virtually been here since condos came into existence.

It’s not because I’m some kind of rocket scientist!  I just know Condo Land, the good, the bad, and the downright ugly!

When I first arrived, there was supposed to be a highway running from highway 401, up in the city’s north end, linking the only major highway that the city has, to the downtown core.

That really is what the “Allan Expressway“, the only Interstate-like highway connection to nowhere was designed, funded and built only to Eglinton Avenue, but Toronto’s wealth in Forest Hill did not want a highway in their back yard so the Allan Expressway was stopped, dumping its multi-lane high speed traffic onto Eglinton Avenue just west of Bathurst Street.

Talk about traffic congestion!  And this is but one flaming instance of the City’s dysfunction regardless of the numerous Governments under numerous Mayors that we’ve seen.

You would think that City Planners didn’t get around the world much before conceptualizing and instigating traffic flow studies.

For example, Toronto has taxi’s stopping wherever and everywhere cabbies choose whereas in Hong Kong (for example) there are specified areas where cabs can pull over and pick up or discharge passengers.

Those waiting for a cab simply “form a Q” or line up and wait their turn.

Now, I want you to just imagine such a standard introduced here in Condo Land.

Do those of you that experience the chaos every day see my point?

Cabs in Condo Land get special “designated Cab lanes” yet the cabbies lane-hop without signalling like lemmings crawling all over and amongst all other cars.

They stop in intersections to pick up and/or drop off a fare!

There is the odd intersection in Condo Land that has the physical equipment to deliver “advanced and/or extended traffic signals enabling all cars to turn, but these are used only periodically “at peak traffic“.

Peak traffic in the congested streets of Condo Land starts at about 7:00 a.m. and ends around 11:00 p.m.!

Left turns at most intersections leaves drivers to “run the gauntlet” on the red while maneuvering through the crowds of pedestrians that launch their crossing maneuver before the light changes.

Right hand turns are also a challenge as jay walkers and late crossers leave drivers hanging.

Driving in Condo Land really is a nightmare and with twenty or so new high density high rise condo towers about to occupy and dozens more already in the ground, someone should be finding out why our road infrastructure planning is so dysfunctional at best and delusional at worst.

It is obvious that the City of Toronto has chosen a strategy of “inconveniencing car drivers to drive them onto public transit“.

I find this objectionable if not downright insulting.

So the city cuts off a full lane (each direction) of driving traffic on many streets, like St. Clair Avenue for example and then they allow “street parking” (payable to the city) taking any driving lane potential down to a single lane of traffic!

On another not, I’ve written a couple times about how offended I am at the way the City flagrantly abuses its taxpayers, using the specific case of College Park as an example.

Taxpaying consumers have been exploited by Toronto Municipal Government for almost a decade now.

Four condo towers (Aura is actually 2 in 1, College Park I and College Park II plus 12 luxury townhouses) have been sold and built in what used to be open space and parking along Bay Street between College and Gerrard and over to Yonge Street.

That equates to tens of millions of dollars in Permit fees, hook-up charges, levies etc., to the city’s coffers.

It also equates to a huge annual cash-flow in property taxes (2,000 condo units).

The park was once, and remained for just 1 year (until the developer’s obligations were met), a beautiful respite away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

It boasted a magnificent water fountain as its centre piece in the summer and fall and then converted to a family skating rink in the winter where you could watch young families teaching their infants to skate.

It was great!

As soon as the year was up, the City shut down the fountain/skating rink, shut off all the irrigation to the park (the developer’s commercial parking lot below the park was leaking and in need of waterproofing which requires the park to be hauled out and replaced).

The City of Toronto markets itself around the globe as “the City within A Park“!

The 12 townhouses were actually called “The Parkview Townhomes”!

City Councillors boasted about their “superior negotiating skills in having negotiated (allegedly) a $3.5 Million park renovation“.

The City actually printed and published (at tax payer expense) a full colour brochure promoting Council’s efforts, while all the while the park has become a crime invested, run down eye sore and a blight to the area at the express doing of City Councillors!

Let’s remember that the developer has a commercial parking garage under the park that needs the roof re-sealed due to it leaking!

The trees, plants and grass were all killed because the water was turned off!

Does anyone else see some kind of collusion here!

The City makes tens of millions, the developer makes hundreds of millions and the individual tax payers get the shaft!

Literally, the City took away the fountain and skating rink and park, leaving a degenerated and scary no-man’s land!

There have been rapes in broad day light!

The police a virtually absent and their headquarters is immediately across the street!

The front lawns and trees installed for the townhouses (actually City property) all died with city trucks driving over them and dog walkers using them as pet toilets (owners were promised “a gated front yard fence“).

This is despite the City collecting millions a year in property taxes all along AND having generated upwards of forty million dollars in permit fees, etc. for them!

A couple weeks ago I wrote to the Mayor and personally dropped off, at City Hall, a private letter, informing the Mayor that I had talked with a litigator who, when I talked with him, was enthusiastic about a “potential law suit against the City” for the damages that I and other owners in College Park and/or Aura have experienced.

I have not seen the courtesy of a reply from our Mayor as of yet.

Is the Mayor telling me that he endorses the abuse that a mismanaged civic government has handed to the owners of real estate in Condo Land?

Is he saying that in order to talk with him, tax payers should file a law suit?

If I were someone bent on making money from law suits I would take him up on it, as two different litigators have told me that there appears to be a valid case here.

I simply want to try to make a wrong situation right but no-one from the city apparently wants to talk.

It’s bad enough in Condo Land that the developers are out to getting away with so much, while over-selling poorly constructed condos using over-hyped and misleading sales tactics and using high pressure “commodity investing sales tactics” in misrepresented “VIP SALES EVENTS“.

It’s also bad enough the the Condo Act does NOT protect consumers (actually protects developers and property managers) and that Tarion is a bad joke and not protecting consumers, or that the City Inspectors aren’t even inspecting the buildings!

It is disgusting that the Building Code has not changed and has remained silent on advancing technologies like “sound attenuation” materials, energy conservation, protecting the environment.

It’s bad enough that you can’t get deficiencies remedied in a timely manner and it is outrageous that we even have an “Occupancy Period” where owners are forced to live in a construction zone for months and months paying “Occupancy Fees” (“Phantom Mortgages“) that add right onto the price of their unit!

And now, our Mayor John Tory, chooses to ignore a rational invitation from a respected tax payer to sit down and try to avoid costly (a “Class Action” law suite of $1 Million per townhouse x 12 townhouses could prove costly) litigation in a matter that the City is so “over the line” in, that one would think I would have heard back right away.

I’m not threatening a law suit!

I am simply offering an solution to a bad situation introduced solely by the Municipal Government of the City of Toronto!

The entire $3.5 Million Park Renovation Program may be, in my opinion, a sham!

I would like to see an itemized budget and identify how much goes to removal of all the dirt, trees, plants, fountain, etc. so the membrane of the roof of the commercial parking garage can be replaced.

I was born at night but it wasn’t . . . . . . last night!

I’m sending this Blog to the Mayor and to other involved Councillors, many of whom I have co-operated with when they request my participation in issues like the Municipal Land Transfer Tax.

It’s a sad day, when you take initiatives to do the right thing and invite elected officials to do the right thing and they refuse to even talk with you.

I’m Charles




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