Guelph approves housing pledge that calls for up to 18K new homes


Guelph City Council has approved its housing pledge. The pledge was developed in response to the provincial More Homes for Everyone Act (Bill 109) and More Homes Built Faster Act (Bill 23).The objective of the two pieces of legislation is to see 1.5 million new homes built in Ontario over a 10-year period. It would also see the process of approving development projects expedited.The pledge would see Guelph honour its responsibility to create 18,000 new homes. But it also calls on other parties to do their part in helping achieve that goal. That includes developers and the two upper levels of government.The pledge asks developers to abide by the provincial mandates regarding homes being built in a timely manner. It also lists 19 things they want from the province, including updating policies and land use schedules, and exempting the Clair Maltby Secondary Plan from appeals to allow over 7,000 housing units to be built faster. Story continues below advertisement “It is going to be a very big undertaking but it is a big necessary undertaking by us,” said Guelph Mayor Cam Guthrie. “We know that we are in a housing crisis and we need to do everything we possibly can.” Trending Now The pledge was finalized and passed by Council at Tuesday’s meeting but not before councillors and staff shared their concerns about it. One is the definition of affordable housing, which the province changed from income-based to market-based.“The percentage of affordable units (being needed) will increase because they changed the definition,” Krista Walkey, general manager of planning and building services, told Council.Cllr. Cathy Downer put forward an amendment asking that the targets set out by the province can only be achieved if the Ford government pulls its own weight.“I personally think that these targets are unattainable because of the barriers that we’ve seen,” Downer said, citing the ongoing labour shortages as well as lack of available supplies and materials.“It sounds like there could be consequences if we don’t do this pledge but at the same time, we have to put the onus back on the province. Our pledge is only good if there is provincial action coming out of this in order to help facilitate this.” Story continues below advertisement The amendment as well as others were passed by Council.Guthrie says while he understands the concerns from his colleagues on Council, he reiterated his support of increasing the housing supply in Guelph.“This change is good for people needing homes,” Guthrie said, adding it has to include those looking for supportive, affordable, non-profit, or market housing. “I want to have good working relationships with the developers, the provincial and federal governments, and obviously the community.”The pledge will now go to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The city says staff will provide regular updates on the status of applications and housing starts through its growth monitoring report. &copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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