City of Guelph approves housing pledge

Guelph council has approved a housing pledge as the next step to addressing expected impacts associated with the province’s More Homes for Everyone Act, and the More Homes Built Faster Act.

The pledge calls on developers to “help meet housing targets by abiding by provincial mandates regarding response times and build homes in a timely manner once development approvals are in place.”

The province requires the City of Guelph to demonstrate its commitment to accelerating housing supply to support the province’s goal of building 1.5 million homes across Ontario by developing a municipal housing pledge and taking steps to facilitate construction of 18,000 new homes by 2031. In response, staff drafted “By Guelph, For Guelph,” a strategy now approved by council.

“Council’s support is a clear signal to the province that we are on board, but we can’t do this alone,” said Jayne Holmes, deputy chief administrative officer, infrastructure, development and enterprise services. “The city will continue to look at opportunities to increase the supply of housing and we want to work with our community partners, our local developers, and the Government of Ontario to achieve these collective goals.”

The pledge highlights opportunities for collaboration and accountability, detailing what the city can do, what local developers can do, and how the province can step in to achieve its housing target.

What the City of Guelph can do:

  • simplify and improve the development approvals review process
  • increase human resources to deliver capital infrastructure projects that provide essential services like water and wastewater needed for new housing
  • end exclusionary zoning policies
  • communicate with third-party utility providers and construction industry partners to ensure they are aware of these housing targets and can adjust their plans and help the Province achieve these housing goals

The pledge highlights 19 items for the province achieve housing targets, including updating policies and land use schedules within the municipal comprehensive review related to the designation of strategic growth areas and increased heights and densities.

Also, the province should exempt the Clair Maltby secondary plan from appeals to allow over 7,000 housing units anticipated in that area to be built faster, and to exempt the upcoming comprehensive zoning bylaw from appeals.

“Yes, we need more housing, but it’s more than that. It’s about building community,” said Holmes. “We urge the province to invest in post-secondary education and trade schools to graduate more planning, engineering, and construction professionals.

“We need funding for infrastructure and parkland. We need funding for hospitals, paramedic services, transit, mental health and addiction services, social housing, and affordable housing; these services are crucial for a healthy, growing community, especially to support the provincially anticipated surge in population.”

The city also wants the province to identify annual targets for ministries, developers, homebuilders, and other community partners with agreed upon accountability measures and metrics in place to evaluate progress.


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