The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority says more than 30 Eastern Ontario mayors have endorsed a letter to the province expressing concerns with provincial Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act.
The letter, written by 10 Eastern Ontario CAs, was sent to Premier Doug Ford and relevant cabinet ministers this month.
“We are overwhelmed and incredibly grateful for the support we have received from local municipalities,” said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, General Manager of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. “It was disheartening that this bill only had a 30-day consultation period given the magnitude of the proposed changes and that this short consultation period fell during the turnover of municipal councils.”
In their letter, the Eastern Ontario CAs outline six key concerns with the bill and how the changes will negatively impact local development review processes, download new responsibilities to municipalities, increase costs to taxpayers, increase the risk of flooding, erosion and slope failure and damage the local environment.
But the CAs also provide recommendations to the province of how to improve Bill 23 and call for meaningful consultation with CAs, municipalities, and the development and agricultural sectors to identify real solutions that will increase housing without having unintended and irreversible consequences.
“It is well understood that water flows across municipal boundaries – and so do the impacts of development. That’s why over the past 70 years, municipalities have formed 36 CAs across Ontario to assess and understand the cumulative impact of development within each watershed. At a time when climate change is causing more frequent and intense storm events, the role of CAs has never been more critical,” said a press release issued by the RVCA.
In order to deal with the housing shortage and lack of vacancy in the province, the Ontario government introduced the More Homes Built Faster Act, which takes bold action to advance the province’s plan to address the housing crisis by building 1.5 million homes over the next 10 years. They say the proposals in the More Homes Built Faster Act would, if passed, ensure that cities, towns and rural communities grow with a mix of ownership and rental housing types that meet the needs of all Ontarians, from single family homes to townhomes and mid-rise apartments.
“For too many Ontarians, including young people, newcomers, and seniors, finding the right home is still too challenging. This is not just a big-city crisis: the housing supply shortage affects all Ontarians, including rural, urban and suburban, north and south, young and old.” said Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our Housing Supply Action Plan is creating a strong foundation on which 1.5 million homes can be built over the next 10 years. Our government is following through on our commitment to Ontarians by cutting delays and red tape to get more homes built faster.”
The plan puts in place actions to support the development of “gentle density” – housing like triplexes or garden suites – that bridge the gap between single family homes and high-rise apartments. For example, it would remove exclusionary zoning, which allows for only one single detached home per lot. Instead, it would allow property owners to build three units without lengthy approvals and development charges.
The plan, which contains around 50 actions, addresses the housing crisis by reducing government fees and fixing developmental approval delays that slow down housing construction and increase costs.