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Ontario passes housing bill amid criticism from cities, conservation authorities

Posted in Canada, Featured

Published on November 28, 2022 with No Comments

Bill ensures province can build 1.5 million homes in 10 years, housing minister says Ontario has passed a bill intended to spur housing development amid criticism that it will leave municipalities short billions of dollars, increase property taxes and reduce the role of conservation authorities.

One of the most controversial aspects of the bill is freezing, reducing and exempting fees developers pay.

Those fees go to municipalities and are then used to pay for services to support new homes, such as road and sewer infrastructure and community centres.

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario says the changes could leave municipalities short $5 billion and see taxpayers footing the bill — either in the form of higher property taxes or service cuts — and there is nothing in the bill that would guarantee improved housing affordability.
The bill also limits the areas conservation authorities can consider in development permissions, removing factors such as pollution and conservation of the land.

Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark says Ontario is in a housing crisis and the measures in the new law are necessary to ensure the province can achieve its goal of building 1.5 million homes in 10 years.

Meanwhile, the government is still accepting public feedback on its proposed amendments to the Greenbelt Act that, if approved, would remove 7,400 acres from the protected land but also add 9,400 acres to the Greenbelt elsewhere, in a bid to build at least 50,000 homes in the GTHA.

The Greenbelt Act was created in 2005 to permanently protect agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area from development.

Clark had previously said he would not cut the protected area or do a land swap.

 

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