An intricate challenge for community based economic development is how to increase access to financial resources as well as influence the flow of financial capital. This challenge has become far more critical in Parkdale in light of a series of acquisitions of high rise apartment buildings by a European corporate landlord that has leveraged financial capital through the real estate investment Trust. This concern has prompted an exploration of community based mechanisms to anchor financial resources locally. At the same time, the community planning process highlighted multiple needs for community based finical mechanisms and institutions: financial exclusion due to the lack of supportive financial services for low-income members who end up relying on high cost, fringe financial services; the lack of financial service option foe non-profit organizations that favor such options that emphasize community reinvestment and social values; and the need foe alterative social financing options for community-led initiatives and projects.
Building on past and existing in Parkdale as well as emerging innovations in social financing in Toronto, it is important to explore the possibility of cultivating access to community-oriented financial mechanisms. A timely opportunity has arisen, as two branches of Meridian Credit Union have opened recently in nearby Parkdale, A range of legislative barriers remain for building a community-based investment platform – such as a regulation on accredited investors and Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) eligibility, ones that requires a further investigation.