In every complete community there are special places where people play. Whether it’s a trail system to cycle on, parks where children run and climb or recreation centres that allow a range of activities for all ages— these spaces are major hubs and often the heart of their communities.
In our third and final installment of our series Building Complete Communities, published in today’s GTA section, we look at places where people play and explain that many come as a result of newly-built communities. The entire series is available on the Star’s website as well.
There is a common misconception that new parks, trails and recreation centres are paid for by current residents through their property taxes, but in most cases across the GTA, that’s just not true. They are often funded through development charges and other government fees, paid by new-home buyers when they purchase a new home.
Development charges are a tax imposed by local municipalities, as well as GO Transit and education boards, and are paid for by new-home buyers to help offset capital costs of growth-related municipal services like roads, sewers and parks. BILD advocates for fair and reasonable government fees and charges and increased transparency and accountability around how the funds are collected and applied.
The building and land development industry also designs and builds, and in some cases pays for play spaces for people to enjoy in the communities that are constructing.
For example, Daniels Corporation’s City of the Arts project on Toronto’s waterfront will feature new arts and cultural spaces for businesses and non-profit organizations, as well as new shops, restaurants, a new pedestrian promenade and park that will provide a public gathering space for markets, festivals and more.
Committing space and dollars to recreational projects is not confined to the city core.
In the western GTA, the Town of Milton is now home to the new Mattamy National Cycling Centre and it’s one of two internationally-sanctioned timber tracks in Canada. The track will first be used as a venue during the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games and then open for public use.
The capital costs for the facility were primarily funded through development charges, federal grants and private donations, including a $2 million donation by Mattamy Homes. Specifically, about 25 per cent of the $56-million project budget came from development charges generated by new-home buyers, Mattamy Homes and other local developers and builders.