Pledge calls for support from all levels of government and local developers
Guelph, Ont., March 1, 2023 – Yesterday, Guelph Council approved the City’s housing pledge, 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.
On October 25, 2022, the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing issued a letter, which was revised on February 13, 2023, concerning the Province’s Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. The letter states the City of Guelph must 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 the necessary steps to facilitate the construction of 18,000 new homes by 2031. In response, City staff drafted a housing pledge, 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,” says Jayne Holmes, the City’s 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 several opportunities for collaboration and accountability, including what the City can do, what local developers can do, and how the Government of Ontario can step in to achieve its housing target.
What the City of Guelph can do
While not responsible for the actual building of homes, there is much a municipality can do to facilitate more housing. In the pledge, the City commits to eight different goals and over 30 objectives to set the stage for success in Guelph. Some of these goals are:
- 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; and
- 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.
What local developers can do
The development sector 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.
What the Province can do
The pledge highlights 19 items the Province can act on to help achieve housing targets. The City asks the Province to approve updated policies and land use schedules within the Municipal Comprehensive Review related to the designation of strategic growth areas and increased heights and densities. The Province is also asked to 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,” adds 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.”
In addition, the City calls upon the Province 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.
Council will now submit the pledge to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. To continue demonstrating the City’s commitment to facilitating an increase in housing supply, staff will provide regular updates on the status of applications and housing starts through its growth monitoring report.
For more information
Jayne Holmes, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Infrastructure and Development Enterprise Services
City of Guelph
519-822-1260, extension 2248