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Burlington Mayor slams provincial housing initiative

Burlington Mayor slams provincial housing initiative

In her monthly constituent newsletter Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward took aim at the Ontario government’s More Homes for Everyone bill — the first phase of its plan to deal with increasing costs of purchasing a home in Ontario.

In particular the Mayor was critical of elements of the plan that seek to override local planning processes writing, “it perpetuates the false narrative that democracy is to blame for the housing affordability and attainability crisis — namely, that municipal elected councils, staff and the public stand in the way.

This is false and damaging to our collective efforts to solve one of the biggest issues of our time. Municipalities remain committed partners in the quest to provide our communities with affordable and attainable housing, rental units and community housing, and welcome the parts of the Province’s plan that will contribute to that shared goal.”

She noted with approval that Housing Minister Steve Clark had backed off on implementing some of the more extreme measures recommended by the Housing Task Force. “I’m also grateful the first phase of the plan being implemented avoids the most damaging aspects of the Housing Task Force recommendations, including the planning free-for-all via 4-storeys in all neighbourhoods, gutting democracy by reducing public participation and bankrupting municipalities by reducing fees and development charges.

These fees help growth pay for growth (although it never fully) and protect taxpayers from subsidizing development.”

She was also critical of the announced plan to provide more funding to the Ontario Land Tribunal in order to increase the speed of hearings and approvals. “Throwing more money after a bad process, namely, the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT), isn’t the answer. We need meaningful reform, including the elimination of ‘de novo’ hearings and a streamlined process, or alternatively (and preferably to many regions including Halton) abolition of the tribunal altogether. Halton Regional Council unanimously supported such a motion in July 2019.

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