According to a new report from Building and Landscaping Industry Association (BILD) found.
The report, which focuses on the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, says municipalities in southern Ontario have planned their growth “on the basis of inaccurate or outdated assumptions,” resulting in “a shortage of needed infrastructure and a lack of housing to support new residents. ”
These forecasts are prepared for the province by Hemson Consulting Ltd. and are used to inform Ontario’s Growth Plan.
“Projections of population growth and housing completion are the basis on which municipalities base their projections of future housing needs,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO of BILD. “The growth plan aims to manage growth by determining the number of dwellings built, their location and their density. If the forecasts that inform the plan are inaccurate or out of date, the supply of housing that will come to market in the future may not match the demand.
The new report, titled “Forecasting Failure: How a Faulty Forecasting System Is Driving the GTHA Housing Shortage and How It Can Be Solved,” states that between 2016 and 2021, forecasting has underestimated population growth in the GTHA region by approximately 120,000. people. It also says the forecast overestimated the supply of new homes by around 26,000 units, “contributing to excess housing demand.”
“Planners should consider a range of potential scenarios rather than assuming that current forecasts will necessarily turn out to be accurate,” the report says.
Russell Mathew, a partner at Hemson Consulting, notes that forecasts are prepared several years in advance and are used for long-term infrastructure land planning.
“Most of this is for forecasts that are prepared in 2012 and 2013 that were in the growth plan and they ended up being in the growth plan through 2020,” Mathew told The Daily Hive. “In some cases, of course, the predictions are a little higher and sometimes a little lower and there are a lot of reasons for that. It’s hard to predict the future, so you’re not going to get those things exactly right all the time.
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BILD offers a number of recommendations to address the problem, including creating a common and agreed data set and revising forecasts when major policy changes are introduced, particularly around immigration targets.
Mathew, however, says that regular forecast updates based on new developments would not necessarily have an effect once an existing growth plan is already underway.
“Generally, the planning you do for these things is big and long-term,” Mathew said. “The Ontario line, for example, is going to be built and it will probably take eight years to build. You’re not going to redesign this thing every two years while you’re building. That’s not the kind of thing you do. So I’m not sure the suggestions over there would do anything to fix the issue in terms of price.