Infrastructure, Growth and the Shape of the Suburbs

Infrastructure, Growth and the Shape of the Suburbs;

York Region’s Infrastructure Challenges in the next 20 years

 Tuesday October 4, 2011, 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Vellore Village Community Centre, 1 Villa Royale Ave, Vaughan, ON L4H 2Z7

Sustainable Vaughan together with The Vaughan Citizen newspaper and Human Endeavor are hosting a Speaker Series and Panel Discussion. The series is focused on infrastructure in the suburbs and the challenges faced by municipalities within York Region. Infrastructure, Growth and the Shape of the Suburbs; York Region’s Infrastructure Challenges in the next 20 years will be held on October 4th 6:30-8:30 at the Vellore Village Community Centre.

Guest speakers include Eric J Miller, Director of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre, Zack Taylor Professional Planner with Metapolis Consulting, Dr. Faisal Moola, Science Director for the David Suzuki Foundation and Roger Keil Director of the City Institute at York University.

Over the next twenty years municipalities across the GTA will began falling into debt paying for the maintenance and repair of existing infrastructure. Mississauga is undergoing this very problem as it developed over 30 years prior to newer municipalities such as Vaughan. Mississauga will spend its reserves over the next year and loose its debt free status in order to pay for maintenance, repair and replacement of its aging infrastructure. According to Mississauga’s 2008 Report, “City’s Now”, The City is facing a $1.5 billion infrastructure deficit over the next 20 years. This year’s property tax increase alone is 5.8%.

As it begins the process of urbanizing, Mississauga still hasn’t developed adequate infrastructure to deal with the increased density growing within its city centre. Developers are already building the type of residential density envisioned in the Places to Grow Act however, will the city have the adequate infrastructure in place to service this density? Mississauga’s current plight should serve as a warning for other municipalities which are not adequately planning for future infrastructure needs within areas set to become denser.

Municipalities throughout the GTA are struggling to keep up with infrastructure needs. The current federal government scrapped the Ministry of State and Infrastructure and seems only willing to invest in shovel ready projects that provide short term political gain and short term impacts for the Region. The Province is also mired in debt and will have limited capabilities in providing bail outs for municipalities. Just this past spring the McGuinty government postponed funding for the Highway 7 Bus Rapid Transit Line in Vaughan, this at a time when ridership on the VIVA system is steadily increasing annually.

Future infrastructure challenges will become an ongoing issue in municipalities across the country. With money not available to satisfy every needed project, York Region needs to begin the conversation about Priorities and Choices. What infrastructure does the Region need to be prioritising now to pre-empt this inevitable infrastructure deficit? What are our choices? What can we learn from other cities?

The Provincial Election is less than a month away and the City of Vaughan is close to finishing its Official Plan document.  It is a perfect time to invite experts to weigh in on this important topic.


Roger Keil

Roger Keil is the Director of the City Institute at York University and a Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. He researches global suburbanism, cities and infectious disease, and regional governance. Among his recent publications are The Global Cities Reader (ed. with Neil Brenner; Routledge, 2006); Networked Disease: Emerging Infections and the Global City. (ed. With S.Harris Ali; Wiley-Blackwell, 2008); Changing Toronto: Governing the Neoliberal City (with Julie-Anne Boudreau and Douglas Young; UTP 2009); Leviathan Undone? The Political Economy of Scale. (ed. with Rianne Mahon, UBC Press 2009) and In-between  Infrastructure: Urban Connectivity in an Age of Vulnerability (edited with Douglas Young and Patricia Burke Wood, Praxis(e) Press).

Dr. Eric J Miller

Dr. Miller is Director of the University of Toronto’s Cities Centre, a multi-disciplinary research institute that aims to encourage and facilitate research on cities and on a wide range of urban policy issues, both in Canada and abroad.

Dr. Miller is former Director of the Urban Transportation Research and Advancement Centre within the University of Toronto Department of Civil Engineering, where he has been a professor since 1983. He is the past Chair of the International Association for Travel Behaviour Research, and he also serves on a number of committees for transportation research in Canada and the US.

The City of Toronto uses his “GTAModel” modeling system to forecast regional travel demand in the Greater Toronto Area to support urban transportation policy analysis and decision-making. He is also the principal investigator of the research team currently developing advanced microsimulation systems for modeling travel and other urban spatial processes.

Dr. Miller received his BASc in Engineering Science from the U of T in 1973, his MASc in Aerospace Studies from the U of T in 1975 and his PhD in Civil Engineering Transportation Systems from MIT in 1978.

Dr. Faisal Moola
Program Director, Terrestrial Conservation and Science

Faisal leads the terrestrial team in working to protect endangered and at-risk species that live on land, and the habitats that support them. Faisal is a practicing scientist and has published widely in scientific journals on ecology, conservation biology, and environmental policy. He has conducted research in some of Canada’s most significant wilderness areas, such as the Boreal Forest, the old-growth rainforests of British Columbia and the Acadian woodlands of Atlantic Canada. He has also been a university lecturer.


Zack Taylor

Principal consultant at Metapolis Consulting

Doctoral Candidate at University of Toronto and the 2010 recipient of the Blanche and Sandy van Ginkel Graduate Fellowship in Municipal Finance and Governance

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2 Responses to Infrastructure, Growth and the Shape of the Suburbs

  1. Pingback: Global Suburbanisms: Governance, Land and Infrastructure in the 21st Century » Archive » Roger Keil to speak on infrastructure challenges in York Region on October 4

  2. Pingback: CITY » Archive » Roger Keil to speak on infrastructure challenges in York Region on October 4

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