Ontario Construction News staff writer
At the last meeting before the municipal election, Toronto council approved building more than 24,800 new homes, including 2,060 affordable and 2,413 purpose built rental units and 775 rental replacement units.
A development charges exemption was also approved for multiplexes with four or fewer units to encourage “missing middle” housing in Toronto’s low-rise neighbourhoods.
Developments will provide 12 new parks, four new privately-owned, public spaces and community benefits worth more than $121 million.
“We are doing everything we can to get more housing built, including more affordable housing and more supportive housing,” said Mayor John Tory. “We must continue the progress we are making creating housing options for current and future residents in Toronto and the commitments to improving housing affordability.”
By approving more than 140 housing-related staff reports and recommendations for action, councillors say they cleared the way to get more homes built, maintain the existing supply of homes, improve access to housing opportunities and take action to improve housing conditions for current and future residents.
Adopted recommendations include:
- A policy to help prevent renovictions and protect Toronto’s affordable and mid-range rental homes.
- Council Advisory Committee to support implementation of the Toronto Housing Charter and HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan.
- Securing approximately 624 affordable units as a community benefit under Section 37 across 11 development applications and leveraging approximately $20 million in Open Door incentives to extend the affordability period to 40 to 99 years for more than a third of those units.
Key strategic priorities identified in the HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan include: increasing the supply of new affordable homes; preventing homelessness and improving pathways to housing stability for residents across Toronto; ensuring well-maintained and secure homes for renters; and increasing access to affordable rents.
A new program – Concept 2 Keys (C2K) will change how development applications are approved with a new review stream that prioritizes affordable housing applications. A new operating model and more collaborative pre-application consultation are being tested in the Etobicoke York District before they are rolled out city-wide by the end of the year.
“Approving almost 25,000 housing units in a single council meeting meant moving mountains for staff and everyone involved in the development review process,” said Gregg Lintern, chief planner.
“The addition of new affordable and purpose-built rental units, new parks and community benefits such as child care centres and community space will support Toronto’s goal to be a more inclusive and more resilient city.”