Let's be honest - Peel isn't the most geographically beautiful place in the world.  Besides the Credit Valley, we basically have apple orchards converted to pavement and buildings and housing.  That said, again, this is what people want.   This is an impossible notion for socialists, who think they know what's best for people.

As Toronto tears down roads, and businesses flee, we now know where they are going - Peel.

                    TOP Stories in the Toronto Star GTA
                                                       Mail this story to a friend
                    May 20, 2000


                    Peel's appeal

                    $2.6 billion regional boom thrives on low taxes, good roads and green

                                           By Mike Funston
                                      Toronto Star Peel/Halton Bureau

                    Location, location, location.

                    The old real estate axiom is the most
                    significant factor in Peel's mammoth $2.6
                    billion building boom, industry and
                    municipal officials say.

                    ``Our accessibility is spectacular,'' said
                    Brampton Mayor Peter Robertson. ``We
                    have a great highway system and Pearson
                    airport, which is undergoing a
                    multi-billion-dollar modernization.

                    Highways 401, 407, 410, 403, 427 and the
                    QEW all run through Brampton, Robertson
                    noted. ``That's going to create major
                    economic spinoffs for us.''

                    Peel's 1999 total shattered its own previous
                    record of $2.3 billion in 1988 and was the
                    highest among communities in Greater

                    It edged York Region's figure by a mere
                    $10,000. But the lion's share of York's
                    development was housing.

                    Peel led in what is arguably the most
                    important category - industrial development - recording $600 million worth, compared
                    with second-ranked Toronto's $232 million.

                    In the commercial sector, Peel also had $432 million worth of development, behind
                    Toronto's $740 million and York's $490 million.

                    Peel had $1.3 billion worth of residential development, with 8,495 housing starts, up 17
                    per cent from 1998.

                    Peel has led industrial growth in the GTA every year since 1984, chief administrative
                    officer Roger Maloney said.

                    A balanced mix of housing and business development provides a healthy tax base as
                    well as jobs for the 25,000 new residents a year who pour into the sprawling region of

                                     `People like to look out their
                                     windows and see some green
                                     grass. Not everyone wants to
                                     live in a high-rise condo in
                                     downtown Toronto. That's
                                     helping drive the growth out
                                         - Emil Kolb Peel Region chair

                    Peel, which includes Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon, attracted 57 per cent of all
                    new industrial development within Greater Toronto, up from 44 per cent in 1998,
                    Maloney said.

                    Thriving industries include pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, chemicals, automotive,
                    trucking, aerospace, financial services and information technology. Peel is home to at
                    least 1,500 multinational companies.

                    Stephen Kaiser, president of Urban Development Institute, which represents
                    industrial, commercial and residential developers, agrees that Peel is blessed with an
                    enviable location and infrastructure to accommodate growth.

                    As an example, he points to Orlando Corp.'s 500-hectare Heartland industrial park,
                    which has seen $750 million worth of construction since 1987, ranging from
                    warehouses to the Canadian head office of Microsoft. It's strategically placed south
                    of the 401, between the Highway 10 and Mavis Rd. interchanges, and minutes from
                    the airport.

                    Heartland has 12 million square feet of office and industrial space. When built out
                    within the next 10 years, it will have 30 million square feet of buildings worth $1.5
                    billion to $2 billion, said Phil King, senior vice-president of development for Orlando,
                    Canada's largest industrial developer.

                    ``Our main reason for choosing this site is the highways,'' King said. ``It's second to

                    Pearson airport is a big magnet because proximity lets companies move employees,
                    customers and goods more efficiently.

                    Quality of life is another factor that attracts companies and new home buyers, Peel
                    Chairman Emil Kolb said.

                    ``People like to look out their windows and see some green grass. Not everyone
                    wants to live in a high-rise condo in downtown Toronto,'' Kolb said. ``That's helping
                    drive the growth out here.''

                    Peel mixes intensive urban development in Mississauga and Brampton with the rural
                    lifestyle of picturesque Caledon, where ``we're fighting to restrict growth,'' Mayor
                    Carol Seglins said.

                    ``We are under great pressure from developers who want us to extend our urban
                    boundaries,'' Seglins said.

                    ``We have it all here, living in the beautiful Caledon hills on the doorstep of an
                    exciting and growing urban area,'' she said. ``So we're going to manage our growth
                    carefully over the next 20 years.''

                    Mississauga business development director Larry Petovello said companies want to
                    locate in their employees' backyards, especially as traffic congestion grows worse in

                    ``And having sports, arts and entertainment facilities, such as our Living Arts Centre
                    and Hershey Centre, are also factors that help attract companies,'' Petovello said.

                    Lower tax rates are a big draw for business, although residential rates are slightly
                    higher in Peel than in Toronto.

                    Brampton's industrial rate of 3.96 per cent looks appealing next to Toronto's 7.51.
                    Mississauga and Caledon rates are even lower.

                    Brampton's commercial rate of 5.02 per cent is less than half the 10.29 per cent
                    Toronto businesses pay; Mississauga charges only 4.78 per cent.

                    Add to that: lower hydro, sewer and water rates, less traffic congestion, and a shorter
                    trip to key border crossings.

                    The tax situation was definitely a factor in the Royal Bank's decision to move into two
                    new nine-storey buildings with 820,000 square feet of space at Mississauga Rd. and
                    Highway 401, said Peter O'Shea, a real estate adviser for the bank.

                                     `Peel has everything -
                                     shopping, recreation, theatres
                                     and restaurants. It's a thriving
                                     metropolis now.'
                                     - Roger Maloney Peel Region CAO

                    The towers, with 4,000 parking spaces, will house 6,000 employees by 2001, serving as
                    the national head office for Royal Bank Insurance and the bank's call centre, O'Shea

                    Penreal, the developer, owns the buildings and leases them long-term.

                    Business also looks at factors such as efficiency in government and financial
                    stability, other areas where Peel stands out.

                                     `Having sports, arts and
                                     entertainment facilities are
                                     also factors that help attract

                    Boasting an AAA credit rating, Peel was ranked highest among major Canadian
                    regions by the Dominion Bond Rating Service in 1999. Maloney noted that the region
                    is debt-free and has $1 billion in reserve funds.

                    ``Along with interest on that money and revenue from development charges, we'll
                    have enough money to pay for our $1.6 billion in infrastructure needs over the next 10
                    years,'' Maloney said.

                    ``We're doing some major expansion of our sewer and water systems as well as road
                    improvements to stay ahead of the game, while keeping our books balanced.''

                    Regional officials project growth will continue at the present pace for the next 20
                    years, when Peel will be home to 1.3 million residents and provide 700,000 jobs.

                    ``Peel has everything - shopping, recreation, theatres and restaurants,'' Maloney said.
                    ``It's a thriving metropolis now.''

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