Expanding Toronto’s parkland will require significant funds for acquisition of privately owned land. The Ontario Planning Act contains provisions that require developers to give land for municipal parks or provide cash-in-lieu (CIL) for their projects. As of 2019, the balance in Toronto’s reserve fund for CIL projects was $222 million. Accessing and spending those funds has been challenging due to a variety of bureaucratic restrictions. Mr. Obregon will outline the problem and propose solutions that would free up funds for parkland expansion. His talk will also cover innovative financial tools such as green bonds that the City could use to substantially increase funding for new parkland, without burdening the taxpayer. A must lecture for anyone interested in learning about the inner workings and issues of the City’s financing of parkland.
Jean-François Obregón holds a Master of Planning in Urban Development at Toronto Metropolitan University (Formerly Ryerson University), where his major research focus was financial tools for parkland acquisition in Toronto. He has over 10 years of experience in financial services, public policy, Cleantech, and media. He also is the Executive Director of A Voice for Transit, an advocacy organization focused on transit equity in the Greater Toronto Area. Jean-François has published articles on investing in the circular economy, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon, and insuring natural disaster risks. His work has been featured in Corporate Knights and Morningstar Canada. He holds an Honors in Business Administration from the Ivey Business School at Western University, where he did an exchange term at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in The Netherlands.
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