Perspectives

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Is the Western GTA in Economic Gridlock?

 

Brian Crombie, Chairman, Steering Committee, Western GTA Summit

Is the Western GTA in Economic Gridlock?

As you read this, chances are you have recently spent time stuck in traffic or have waited too long for a bus or a train. Chances are also that you have said to yourself, there has to be a better way. You are not alone.

In recent months, there has been a lot of discussion about the investments we need to make in our public transit and transportation networks and even more discussion about how we are going to pay for these. No decisions have been made, but almost everyone agrees that we must do something to reduce congestion and improve how we move goods and people. It’s critically important that all residents have a say in these decisions because everyone will be affected by the choices we make today. To date, the discussion about transit and transportation has focused on the needs of Toronto.

The Western GTA is home to 1.5 million people and our voice needs to be heard.

How we move is critical to how we live and more importantly, how we thrive and prosper. Every year in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) traffic and congestion cost us $6 billion in lost GDP and our average commute is one of the longest in North America at an average of 82 minutes.

The average family in the GTA spends over $10,000 on transportation costs, while 45 per cent of us in Peel Region live in what are considered “low or very low income” neighbourhoods. The more time we spend in our cars, or taking inefficient public transit means more time away from our families, reduced job opportunities and a strain on our finances.

The time for action is now. However we at the Mississauga Summit believe that addressing transit and transportation in isolation leaves out important parts of the discussion and does not adequately address the larger issues facing residents in the Western GTA. This is why the Mississauga Summit organization is hosting the Western GTA Summit on May 21, 2013 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

The Summit will ask a single question: Are we facing economic gridlock?

To answer this important question, we will not only examine how we move, but will go a step further and also examine how we live and most importantly, how we thrive and prosper.

For instance, will ask questions like do we need to change the way in which we live and design our communities? What should our future neighbourhood and city growth look like and do we require changes in zoning, density and urban design, and what about the call for an end to sprawl?

Poverty rates remain a serious concern in the GTA, but how we will we fight it? How will we tackle homelessness, precarious employment and the increasing use of food banks? And, what innovations and employment opportunities will we create for youth, seniors, new immigrants and the working poor to ensure everyone has a chance to thrive?

The 2013 Western GTA Summit will be co-chaired by Mississauga Mayor, Hazel McCallion, Brampton Mayor, Susan Fennel, Oakville Mayor, Marolyn Morrison, and Oakville Mayor, Rob Burton. Joining these mayors will be a wide array of experts in each of the areas of live, move and thrive.

The Summit will feature keynote speakers, followed by round-table discussions with participants, including businesses, academics and residents of the Western GTA.

I hope that you will consider joining us for what we believe will be a game changing afternoon.

For event details please click HERE.
If you would like to register or find out more, please click HERE.

Decisions are made by those who get involved. Make sure your voice is heard.

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