Housing is a defining crisis of our era, with the province asking municipalities to help point out priorities in their own backyards.
A report from the Ontario housing affordability task force was presented to Tay Township council recently, with planning and development services manager Todd Weatherell explaining that of 74 unique recommendations, 23 had been implemented to date.
Coun. Paul Raymond asked Weatherell: “Are we going to start seeing a lot of these types of reports coming from the government, giving us ideas on how we can spur housing?”
Weatherell noted it as a good question.
“I'm not sure if we're going to continue seeing these,” replied Weatherell. “They want us to prioritize the top five to address the housing needs. Will we see one next year for another five? I'm not sure.”
The mid-September letter from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing referenced the final report from the housing affordability task force in February 2022, and requested municipalities to provide a top five ranking for their particular needs in their boundaries.
As Tay’s response for their population of just over 11,000 residents, the top five selections were: to amend official higher-tier acts and policies to set full housing growth in existing municipal areas (2); to permit ‘as of right’ conversion of underutilized commercial for residential use (4); to permit ‘as of right’ room rentals (6); a simplification of planning legislation and policy documents (22); and to have Ontario Land Tribunal appellants factually demonstrate an appeal’s merits before being accepted (26).
Also within the Tay report is a tracking progress chart further expanding upon the 23 fully implemented recommendations with further details included.
As the provincial letter was asking for a response date of Oct. 15 by municipal councils, the recent regular council meeting for Midland contained that municipality’s staff recommendations, which also stated the Ontario Land Tribunal appellant recommendation (26) in their own top five list.
Having a population of nearly 18,000 people, other priorities for Midland included: requiring an all-party pre-consultation to define and clarify applications (21); improving education funding and training with incentives (45); having a weekly government meeting to keep the subject on track (54); and funding data and e-permit systems (50).
The Ontario housing affordability task force report, including full descriptions of the 74 unique recommendations, can be found in the council agenda on the Tay Township website.
Tay council meets for committee of the whole meetings every second Wednesday of the month, and regular council meetings every fourth Wednesday of the month. Archives and livestreams of council meetings are available through the Tay Township YouTube channel.
Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, MidlandToday.ca