Build, build, build

One of the great ironies with elections is all the promises and apparent answers there are to the country’s woes.

With every promise comes a price tag and it never goes unnoticed, by us anyway, that every election cycle the debt grows larger. Ontario’s debt alone is now approaching $450 billion. Ottawa? Try almost three times that – some $1.2 trillion and counting.

There are countless other struggles for Ontario residents heading to the polls in less than a month. Inflation for necessities, staggering fuel prices, worries about healthcare, two years of what we consider lost education and mental health problems across the population are obvious examples. No easy answers emerge and without coming across as a complete contrarian, if solutions were so simple, they would have been acted on already.

No, we are in complicated time. A very complicated time.

It was with that point of reference that a column written by Liberal leader Steven Del Duca for the Toronto Sun had us scratching our head. It was a piece on housing and his solution was to build, build, build.

Granted it was a puff piece, and all leaders at every level of government seem intent on adding their two cents to prospective solutions. But solving the housing predicament isn’t that easy and this current crisis didn’t happen overnight. Governments of all stripes are responsible for years of neglecting housing stock and opportunities. Housing includes young people starting out and the elderly needing a transition from a single dwelling to an institutional setting. It’s one big discussion, not just a hit and miss.

Wellington County’s effort at Aboyne offers up an example of how intertwined housing can be. If moves had been made with the continuum of care concept, literally dozens of homes would have become available for other people to purchase or rent. 

Were buyers in the market not so in love with the single-family home, much of the developed land could have been used more wisely to address renter needs. This is the big picture.

When Del Duca says build, build, build we ask where, where, where and with what?

Forced, in a sense, to stabilize this crisis without deep thinking, more mistakes will be made. Farmland will be paved over, because virgin fields are often easiest to service. Waterways accepting effluent will be taxed to the max, just to build houses. And do we really want to see a scenario where the folly of commuting is promoted? 

If this madness weren’t enough, we wonder too where the supplies will come from. From time to time we check in with contractor friends and the cost of materials and labour charges are, in a word, horrendous. If affordability is to factor into this strategy, there needs to be a marked change in the cost of goods.

As this election period gains momentum, insist on more than catchy slogans.


For the next two weeks the Advertiser will be dedicating space for comments from provincial election candidates on key questions affecting Ontario and the two ridings that intersect Wellington County. Watch each week and cast your informed vote on June 2.