Windsor mayor calls for reduced regulations, increased land supply and speeding up approvals ahead of housing summit

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Premier Doug Ford will host a provincial-municipal housing summit on Dec. 16 for Ontario’s Big City mayors and regional chairs.

The goal is to identify ways to collaborate as the province and municipalities continue to address the housing affordability crisis. Steve Clark, minister of municipal affairs will also participate.

“Young families, seniors and all hardworking Ontarians are desperate for housing that meets their needs and budget,” said Ford. “That’s why we’re inviting municipalities to the table to discuss how we can work together to build more homes faster and make home ownership more affordable.

“My goal for the summit is for the province and municipal partners to come up with concrete solutions that address the ongoing housing affordability crisis and allow more families to realize the dream of home ownership.”

Mayors across the province say a summit is a good idea.

“The average price of a home is up over 34 per cent so far this year, and that’s on top of a similar increase in 2020,” said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens.

“This past year, our community has benefitted from significant Provincial funding associated with housing as we have collectively responded to the pandemic and as such, we’ve been able to move forward with significant accomplishments associated with our housing master plan.”

Dilkens says governments should encourage density, infill and brownfield redevelopments and urban renewal together while reducing the regulatory burden on private developers, increasing land supply and dramatically speeding up the permitting and approvals process.

The provincial government’s housing policies under More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan are working to make housing more affordable by increasing the supply of the full range of housing options, from single-family homes to midrise housing to apartment buildings. In 2020, Ontario saw the highest level of housing starts in a decade and the highest level of rental starts since 1992.

“It’s no secret that Ontario has a housing crisis, as demand has drastically outpaced supply over the past decade. While our government’s policies are working to address affordability, including the tools we’ve provided to municipalities, we know that housing prices are still out of reach for so many Ontarians,” said Clark.

“As we move toward a period of economic growth, this housing summit gives us a chance to assess how the province and our municipal partners can build on our progress through continued partnership and identify new opportunities to collaborate on making housing more affordable for hardworking Ontarians and their families.”

Leading up to the ROMA Conference, Clark will hold a special session with Ontario’s rural municipalities in January to discuss housing affordability and the unique challenges.

The government has also created a Housing Affordability Task Force to identify further opportunities to get shovels in the ground faster, remove duplication and barriers, and make housing more affordable for hardworking Ontarians.

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