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Friday , 24 October 2014

Monthly Archives: May 2013

Parking tax unfair to business owners says real estate industry

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The first public opinion poll since the release of the Metrolinx investment strategy for funding transit expansion shows that the public doesn’t think much of the new taxes. Is anyone surprised to hear that? The Forum Research telephone poll showed that more people would support increased fees paid by developers and an increase in parking fees, but fewer like the proposed gas tax and HST increase. Support is higher, in short, for those measures that would be less likely to affect the individual in a major way. Other important players, including the mayor of Toronto and the finance minister of Canada are not on board either. Rob Ford says he ... Read More »

New guidelines clarify what the city wants from tall building developers

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It didn’t receive much media attention—how could something so innocuous compete with the circus that is our city hall these days?—but a couple of weeks ago the city passed a new set of Tall Building Design Guidelines. These new guidelines replace and in some cases build upon previous guidelines that were already in place. Why do we need them? The city explains that tall buildings can help define the city and become important landmarks that are sources of pride and delight. Or, when poorly located and designed, they can have various negative impacts: overwhelming a neighbourhood, blocking sunlight, creating a wind tunnel effect, and contributing to traffic congestion, to name ... Read More »

More Toronto home buyers planning to buy condos: BMO

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A day after its latest report on the state of the housing market in Canada, BMO says that home-buying intentions in Toronto are up “significantly” and that one-third of those buyers will be buying condos. Buyers in other cities, notably Vancouver and Montreal, have become less inclined to buy a condo, but in Toronto, 31 per cent of prospective buyers who intend to buy in the next five years say they will go high rise. That is up 11 points from the last survey in the fall of 2012. The condo choice is more appealing, apparently, to the older crowd. People over 50 are more likely to buy a condo ... Read More »

Self-powered street lights from Scandinavia a model of sustainability

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Anything designed by a committee, the accepted opinion has it, will look like a dog’s breakfast. That certainly is not the case here. A Scandinavian architecture firm that’s famous for creating some of the world’s most stunning buildings has developed a self-sustaining street light. Working with an umbrella group of industry and academic specialists known as Gate 21, and with several municipalities and big corporations, Henning Larsen Architects created the very attractive looking self-powered street lamp. It works by using a combination of wind and solar power, and LED technology. The design incorporates solar cells and an integrated battery and control system on the post, and a wind generator on ... Read More »

Great ideas for harnessing the sun

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Here’s an idea that seems to have loads of potential, not to mention the best optics ever for a green energy device: a solar-powered electrical socket that sticks to the inside of your windows. Just stick the socket on the window, wait for its mini photovoltaic panels to charge up with solar energy, and away you go. Plug in your devices directly to the window outlet. Not only is it a great idea for home use, but it would be a really useful little thing to carry with you (instead of batteries) when you travel, especially to places where electricity might be restricted, possibly even on an airplane. Or take ... Read More »

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