Ontario Construction News staff writer
Add Guelph council to the list of municipalities across the province signing housing pledges, as the next step to addressing anticipated impacts associated with Bill 109, More Homes for Everyone Act, and Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act.
Developers can 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.
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 Jayne Holmes, deputy chief administrative officer, infrastructure, development and enterprise services. “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.”
In addition, the city wants Ontario to identify annual targets for provincial ministries, developers, homebuilders, and other community partners with agreed upon accountability measures and metrics in place to evaluate progress.
Guelph’s pledge demonstrates a commitment to accelerating housing supply and facilitate construction of 18,000 new homes by 2031. In response, staff drafted By Guelph, For Guelph, and council approved the document.
“Council’s support is a clear signal to the province that we are on board, but we can’t do this alone,” Holmes, said. “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 several opportunities for collaboration and accountability for the city, developers and the province.
Over 30 objectives were set for the city, including:
- 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