A promotional clip for the documentary film The Condo Game, which will air on CBC-TV’s Doc Zone Thursday evening at 9 p.m. Update: You can now view the documentary at this link on the CBC website.
‘Sea of troubles’: If you have attended any of the community consultation meetings that Toronto city planners have held to gather public feedback on new condo development proposals, you’ve probably heard someone in the audience wonder why the city needs yet another residential highrise building, especially in the downtown core where scores of towers are currently under construction already.
The typical response, usually offered by someone representing a project developer, explains that more than 100,000 people a year move to the Greater Toronto Area, and points out that “those people have to live somewhere.” Consequently, more and more condos are being proposed — and built — simply to meet the burgeoning demand. Often, a city planner will chime in to clarify that only 20,000 of those people actually move into the City of Toronto itself — a significantly smaller number, but a sizeable population increase nonetheless. I’ve heard these statistics and explanations cited at more than a dozen public meetings I’ve attended during the past year alone.
But Toronto’s condominium building boom, which has been going strong for more than a decade, isn’t about finding homes for those newcomers and other people who want to live in the city because it’s such a desirable place to live, work and play. According to a documentary film that will be broadcast on CBC Television Thursday night,the condo boom actually is a game that’s being played, on a global scale, for people to make money. And as this “commodities” game continues to play on, there are growing indications that it’s “rigged” against the city and its citizens, and could pose serious and costly consequences for them in the years ahead, The Condo Game documentary suggests.
“The Condo Game examines the forces at play behind the fastest moving condo market in North America – Toronto – and discovers that the glittering glass hides a sea of troubles,” says a film description on the CBC’s Doc Zone webpage.
As the film reveals a tide of construction deficiencies and maintenance problems that are sweeping Toronto toward a “tipping point,” “warning bells will be ringing loud and clear for cities and condo-owners across Canada,” the Doc Zone program description says.
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