Motion calling on staff to draft 2023 ‘housing action plan’ goes to city council Wednesday
Toronto’s mayor announced a sweeping plan last week to help tackle the city’s affordability crisis by building a larger range of housing types — a move that experts and advocates are calling a “step in the right direction.”
Mayor John Tory called on city staff in a report on Friday to draft a “housing action plan” that could see major changes to zoning bylaws, including allowing the building of multiplexes on all residential lots and legalizing rooming houses.
The motion will go to city council on Wednesday at what will be one of the most important meetings of this year. Here is a breakdown of the report:
What is Toronto’s target?
The Ford government’s housing plan set the target for Toronto: 285,000 new homes in the next decade.
On Friday, Tory said he wants to “achieve or exceed” the province’s goal.
“It’s going to be hard,” said Rocky Petkov, a volunteer with More Neighbours Toronto, an advocacy group aiming to tackle the long-term political, social, and economic consequences of unaffordable housing.
“There are real concerns; there is only so much construction labour and construction material. This is something that will take time … It is not going to be overnight. However, I do think it’s possible.”
Where does Tory stand on this?
Tory campaigned on a plan to introduce far more types of housing in the city.
In a letter to council backing these reforms, Tory writes: “Voters in the last municipal election provided a mandate to me and to this council to make bold moves on housing.”
In a motion to council, Tory asked staff to review the plans for the Port Lands and the waterfront to “ensure housing density is optimized” and to create a separate post-secondary strategy focused on “increasing the availability of student housing.”
“This plan will bring our city into the 21st century by removing the exclusionary zoning that has focused growth in just a few areas of the city, and prevented Torontonians from having housing choices,” Tory told reporters Friday.
Staff are also urged to review urban design guidelines, heritage standards and urban forestry policies to help meet the target goal of building the new housing, according to the motion.
“More needs to be done,” Tory said.
“We know that we as a city government need to take a more aggressive approach to addressing the acute affordability and housing crises facing our city.”