By Karen Frisa
Ontario Construction News staff writer
Ontario’s government is beginning a consultation process for proposed changes to the Provincial Policy Statement (PPS), which sets out direction for land use planning in the province.
Changes are aimed at paving the way for developments that will provide more affordable housing options, particularly for first time buyers and seniors, by requiring municipalities to streamline and fast-track development applications for housing and economic development proposals.
Other initiatives in the plan are to ensure the right mix of housing, creating transit-oriented development, and ensuring municipalities are preparing for effects of climate change.
“Seniors are looking to down-size and young families don’t see a path to home ownership,” aid Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs and housing. “That’s why we are proposing changes to provincial policies that would spur and speed up the construction of more and different types of housing that can meet the needs of people in different stages of life.”
Under the current PPC, it can take years of paperwork before a building can begin on housing or business development projects.
Proposed changes would not relax rules around health and safety protections or the environment.
The PPS establishes direction on land use on a province-wide basis, guiding municipal decisions to adhere to provincial norms. It helps manage growth and development, ensure wise use of farmland and natural features, and protects public health and safety by guiding where new buildings can go.
The government is consulting the public on the proposed changes – but only during a 90-day window, between July 22 to Oct. 21. Feedback can be sent by email, online, or in the mail.