Council votes to adopt business case to explore creation of a Municipal Development Corporation

Wednesday, June 29, 2016 – for immediate release

Council votes to adopt business case to explore creation of a Municipal Development Corporation

Town to seek public input on business case

At the June 27, 2016, Council meeting, Council voted to adopt a business case outlining the key rationale for the creation of a Municipal Development Corporation (MDC) to oversee development of the town’s former public works site on Trafalgar Road. Next steps include public consultation to gather feedback on the business case, which will be included in a final recommendation report, together with financial requirements and other steps needed to create a MDC for Council consideration.

“Our research has laid the groundwork to further explore the possible benefits the MDC option could have for residents,” Mayor Rob Burton said. “Before we make a final decision, Council will take the time to review all the additional information, public feedback and other detailed requirements we’ve asked staff to present.”

Increasingly, governments are considering a “master developer” approach to dealing with significant public surplus lands in order to manage development and maximize value to the community. Local governments can implement this approach when dealing with real estate opportunities by using in house staff or by establishing a MDC pursuant to the provisions of the Municipal Act, 2001.

In 2015, the town retained N. Barry Lyon Consultants Limited (NBLC), Exp Energy Services Limited, and Black, Sutherland LLP to conduct a study on the development potential of the town’s former public works yard. The study recommended that the town assume the role of “master developer” to oversee planning and development activities for the lands. On February 1, 2016, Council endorsed the study’s conclusions and directed staff to have the consulting team explore approaches to implementing the master developer recommendation.

The key rationale for the creation of a MDC are:

the ability to negotiate effectively in the market outside of the political system;
to clearly separate the roles and mandate of town staff; and,
to separate the town’s statutory approval role from the town’s role in land development.

The business case also outlines that the MDC would operate within Town Hall but independently of other town staff, and would be managed by a part-time CEO under the direction of a Board of Directors (chaired by the Mayor), with the support of a senior management advisory team.

Should the town decide in the future to establish a MDC, it could also be used to deal with other surplus lands, including the former Brantwood School site.

For more information, review the June 20, 2016 Administrative Services Committee meeting agenda.

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Council votes to adopt business case to explore creation of a Municipal Development Corporation

Real estate: More than just sales

Members of the public seem to think that all I do is sell houses. While that is part of my work, the amount of time I spend selling represents just 20 per cent of my job activities.

The role of the REALTOR®, in my view, is not so much a salesperson but more of a consultant – a good Realtor consults with his or her clients, guides them, and helps them to arrive at sound decisions. This consulting role is crucial because the stakes are high – the client is buying or selling a home, one of their biggest financial investments ever.

As a consultant, a good Realtor explains all of the pros and cons of a property or process to the clients and helps them to understand the true value of a property.

When I’m not consulting, the rest of my time is devoted to many other aspects of the job that consumers may not see or understand, but which are equally important in meeting the needs of my clients. Research occupies 35 per cent of my time, while prospecting takes another 35 per cent. The remaining 10 per cent of my time is spent on administrative tasks and duties.

Whereas a retail salesman is all about unloading a product, real estate sales is a different beast. Our focus must be on striving to promote and protect our clients’ best interests. This is a crucial distinction. I have no interest in selling the wrong product to the wrong person at the wrong price.

Many people seem to believe that ours is a simple job. They think we just fill out a listing agreement, plunk a sign on the lawn, and the property sells. That is far from the whole picture. A great deal of research is involved, and although we might make it look easy, people don’t always understand what went on in the preparation stage.

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Research is essential to success in this business, and it’s the part that the public does not always see because it happens on our own time, behind the scenes. When working with a buyer, a Realtor must thoroughly investigate an area and various properties, among other things. When working with a seller, we must develop a marketing strategy and come up with a price for a given property based on our research. Wide exposure of a property through various channels is the right approach to selling a home and does the best for the sellers.

All of this research is important and time consuming, but it is time well spent since it helps us serve our clients. Information about a property, its current or future zoning, possible changes to pertinent bylaws, material facts, defects and valuation are just some examples of details that must be researched in depth and verified.

A good Realtor is straightforward and tells it like it is to the clients, even when it may not be what they want to hear. It is hard to tell a seller that their expectation about the selling price of their home is unrealistically high, but it is important to bring reality to the discussion. It can also be difficult to deal with clients who dictate to you or expect you to be at their beck and call — available at all hours of day or night. Sometimes our job is about managing expectations.

I was once showing properties to a new buyer client. He liked one place and insisted on submitting an offer that was 20 per cent less than the asking price, despite my advice to the contrary. Obviously, we lost the bid.

After that, I sat down with him and politely explained how the process works, but I did not sugar-coat my words. I advised him that it’s my role to assess whether a property is priced fairly and then to collaborate with him so he can make an informed decision about whether to bid. I told him that I would help him submit a fair offer on a property he likes.

This frank discussion improved our professional relationship. He came away with a greater respect for my effort and ability. We resumed our search, but because we were now working within a more realistic budget, he ended up purchasing a property that was outside of his initial search area. In the end, however, he was happy with what he got and had a better understanding of how to meet the challenges a buyer can face.

The right approach, in my view, is always to try to present the facts as I see them and to give the client information based on my best estimates, backed by substantial research. Doing this, and providing statistics and background evidence for those numbers, saves my time and that of my clients.

Telling clients what we think they want to hear is a mistake we may be tempted to make, but in the end it causes more damage to the process and perhaps to the industry. In fact, it may cause clients to think I am a slick salesman rather than a Realtor.



Ravi Minhas is a Caledon REALTOR® and has been a member of the Toronto Real Estate Board for eight years. She serves as a volunteer on the Marketing & Communication Committee at the Ontario Real Estate Association.


Real estate: More than just sales

Merle Haggard and Prince

So, do you want to be a vanilla volunteer leader/president and just keep things on an even keel and not rock the boat?

Hey, the market is good and if it ain’t broke why fix it?

We’ve lost 2 great music icons within a week – country legend Merle Haggard and rock/pop/funk/blues artist Prince.

If they would have have played it safe you wouldn’t even recognize their names. But they pushed the envelope and took risks
(and took a beating while they did it ) but they’ll be remembered for generations.

Is there an important issue your board wants to move forward? Is there a legacy member service that needs to be torn apart? Are there elephants in the room that need to be discussed?

Stand out and be brave to make a difference in your volunteer leadership role. Don’t stand for the status quo.

Push the envelope and be an Okie from Muskokee and embrace Purple Rain. How many times in life are we in a leadership role and can make a real difference?

What are they going to do – cut your salary? You’re doing it for free!

Embrace change and be a rebel.


Merle Haggard and Prince

Modernize the Ontario Land Transfer Rebate

For many first-time buyers in Ontario, saving for a down payment is among the biggest obstacles to home ownership. The provincial land transfer tax (LTT) and other closing costs reduce the size of a buyer’s down payment, making it more difficult to enter the market.

Currently, first-time buyers are eligible for a maximum LTT rebate of up to $2,000. However, as home prices have increased, the rebate’s effectiveness has eroded over time.

In 1996, when the LTT rebate was introduced, Ontario’s first-time buyers paid $0 on the average priced home. The rationale behind the LTT rebate was to exempt first-time buyers in order to help them enter the market. Today, first-time buyers are paying nearly $4,000 in LTTs on an average priced home, after applying the rebate.

To improve the affordability of home ownership, the government should modernize the LTT rebate for first-time buyers. OREA is currently researching this important issue and will be making recommendations to the government in the very near future.

Original article – 

Modernize the Ontario Land Transfer Rebate

Education Begins With A Needs Analysis

All education must begin with a needs analysis. We must deliver what the students need to perform and apply the requisite knowledge and skills in an ethical and professional manner. Adult education is not intended to correct shortages in motivation, remedy personal inadequacies, or alter deficient value systems. These are the purview of Dr. Phil, Judge Judy, and even the Jerry Springer of this world—entertainment, assuredly, but not education.

“Under promise and over deliver” is a conservative, self-rationalization for getting by and avoiding creativity. Although the tenet may have merit in some aspects of life, it is anathema when it comes to modern instructional and curriculum design.  Here we need to get rid of the ‘box’, not just think outside of it.

In education, let’s not dwell on constraints. Let’s focus on what is it learners need to know and imagine the most creative design for achieving that end. We can always temper our creation later with discussions of budget and available resources. After paring down (using the KISS process) is complete, our objective and anticipated learning should remain intact. Probably the most important thread to weave in this entire exercise is to make the content realistic so students grasp how the content relates to their out-of-class behaviour and performance.

In curriculum creation, content rules. Content is merely a grouping of a multiplicity of tasks. Each task must be specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-sensitive (SMART). As for the facilitator, ensure that you deploy instructional techniques that lead to practical, informative, learning by ‘doing’, student-centric educational experiences.


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Education Begins With A Needs Analysis

Ontario Reviewing the New Home Warranty Regime

The Government of Ontario is currently undertaking a review of the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act and the Tarion Warranty Corporation. Lead by special advisor, the Honourable J. Douglas Cunningham, the review of existing legislation and regulations will help identify ways to better protect consumers buying new homes in Ontario.

The review will make recommendations regarding:

-Consumer protection

-Accountability and transparency

-Board governance

The public and industry stakeholders are invited to participate in the consultation process during April and May. It is expected that the review will conclude at the end of the June.

For more information, please visit:

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Ontario Reviewing the New Home Warranty Regime

Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) had its EMERGE series in the last quarter of 2015. I had the pleasure of being one of the speakers and talking to Realtors about the digital marketing funnel. With online lead generation becoming ever more sophisticated it’s a really exciting time for Realtors to look at incorporating this into their business model. In today’s environment creativity and a few solid rules of thumb will get you everywhere.

EMERGE was an all around great experience and in addition to sharing my own expertise I learned several things that are key to building an even more successful business in this industry:


These events are an incredible opportunity to network. Get to know other agents in your area. Better than that, travel to an event thats not in your area and network with potential referral partners. Even make a list ahead of time if you see some speakers you’d want to talk to and make a point of reaching out.


What sets apart an event like Emerge from a lot of real estate conferences is the breakout sessions. Being able to speak directly to the experts after hearing them give their presentation is invaluable.

I’ve sat in many conferences where I’ve heard great ideas and had follow up questions I wanted to ask. At EMERGE these questions can be covered in the breakout session in great detail. All the nitty gritty questions you had about your own business you can ask.


Showing up, networking, and asking questions is just the start if you are coming to these events. The part that actually matters is what you do when you go home.

Nothing matters if you don’t implement. That’s what will make a difference in your business and in your life. Just knowing the answer isn’t the same as acting upon it.

Below is my talk from the event. If you want to ask questions about it then just leave them in the comments below!


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Top 3 Takeaways From OREA EMERGE – Andrew Fogliato

Real estate and virtual reality

Virtual reality technology has made a huge leap forward over the last few months. The Oculus Rift, now owned by Facebook, the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear and Sony Play Station VR are all vying to be the virtual reality leader. It’s a technology that lends itself perfectly to real estate and REALTOR® groups are wasting no time in jumping aboard.

Sotheby’s International is using Samsung’s VR kit to allow shoppers to view multi-million dollar homes in LA, the Hamptons and New York City.

They’ve reserved the technology for higher-priced properties as the cost of scanning a home for VR ranges from $300 – $700. The process involves setting up multiple cameras to capture a 360-degree view. This gives the buyer has the same intimate view as buyers shopping in person. The realtor can not only lead the VR tour remotely and also see where the client is looking, so if the client is admiring a back-splash, the realtor can comment on that feature.

Virtual reality is also ideal for touring pre-construction properties. Clients can gain a better sense of the layout, inspect finishes and understand the dimensions more fully.

The developer, Lifestyle Custom Homes has already incorporated a virtual tour into the sales presentation for its Toronto development, One6Nine Jones.

VR is particularly handy in cities with high volume traffic where getting around to multiple properties is difficult. Clients can visit a realtor office, view a range of houses, and decide which to see in person.

There are likely a myriad of ways to use VR. As use becomes more widespread the costs will come down and more real estate groups will be able to access the technology.

View article – 

Real estate and virtual reality

OREA president featured on radio show

Ray Ferris, president of the Ontario Real Estate Association, will be the guest expert on a radio show starting this weekend. 

The show, “Ask the Experts”, is scheduled to run on Saturday, April 2 at 5 p.m. on Newstalk 1010 and is hosted by Iain Grant. This weekend’s show will introduce Ferris and OREA to the listening audience and aims to cover a variety of real estate questions and issues. The president will discuss the value that a REALTOR® brings to the real estate transaction, as well as answering questions from the host about real estate.

The one-hour radio program can be heard across the province at 1010 on the AM dial. Ferris is scheduled to appear on the show again in several subsequent interviews this spring and fall. His second interview is scheduled for Saturday, April 16 at 5:00 p.m. and will cover some of the less-well known ways that a REALTOR® can help the public during a real estate transaction.

“Ask the Experts” is a public radio show described on the station’s website,, as an opportunity for members of the public to “talk directly to the movers and shakers. You will get inside information and knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else. It’s a great way for you to get free advice on everything from plumbing to legal.”

If you have questions, comments or ideas for future real estate topics on the radio program, send an email to with the subject line “Radio program comments.”

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OREA president featured on radio show

OREA’s 2016 Government Relations Committee

OREA’s GR team would like to welcome this year’s Government Relations Committee.

Valerie Miles (Chair)
Roger Bouma
Glenda Brindle
Kevin Crigger
Henry David
Stacey Evoy
Amie Ferris
Janice Myers
Heidi Noel
Von Palmer
Robert Pfaff
Debbie Vernon
Sean Morrison
Anna Vozza

The committee helps identify legislative and regulatory issues that affect Ontario REALTORS® and the real estate industry. As experienced real estate professionals, the GRC is a valuable resource for policy makers since they can speak to the implications of proposed legislation.

The committee also plays an important role in building strong relationships with MPPs and public servants. In this role, they regularly attend meetings, MPP events and make presentations before legislative committees.

OREA’s GR team looks forward to working with the new committee.

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OREA’s 2016 Government Relations Committee