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Montreal called to waive its regulations to accelerate real estate projects

Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press The new housing law provides for certain measures aimed at accelerating the construction of housing by reducing the bureaucratic burden that cities impose on real estate developers.

Zacharie Goudreault

11:36 a.m.

  • Montreal

The opposition party Ensemble Montréal is urging the City to circumvent its urban planning regulations to accelerate real estate projects in the metropolis, by taking advantage of new powers at its disposal since the adoption last month of Bill 31.

The Act to modify various legislative provisions relating to housing, resulting from Bill 31, was mainly talked about for its provision giving more flexibility to owners wishing to refuse a request for transfer of lease from their tenants, in a context of housing crisis.

However, this law, approved on February 21, also provides for certain measures aimed at accelerating the construction of housing in the province by reducing the bureaucratic burden that cities impose on real estate developers.

Ensemble Montréal's housing spokesperson, Julien Hénault-Ratelle, held a press conference at city hall on Thursday to urge Valérie Plante's administration to adopt a resolution granting the metropolis “the authorization to deviate from municipal regulations in town planning in an exceptional manner”, as provided for in the new law that the Minister of Housing, France Élaine-Duranceau, has had to defend tooth and nail in recent months.

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Deregulate now

By applying this aspect of the law, Montreal could notably circumvent the obligation to obtain an opinion from the urban planning advisory committee, to hold a referendum or to obtain authorization from a borough's demolition committee before approving certain real estate projects deviating from its urban planning and zoning regulations, underlines Ensemble Montréal.

This form of deregulation is, however, only permitted in the law for a period of three years after its entry into force, hence the importance of taking advantage of it now, in the opinion of the opposition party.

“What we want is to accelerate construction starts in Montreal,” where the housing vacancy rate fell to 1.5% in the Montreal region last year, stimulating a rapid increase rents, underlined Mr. Hénault-Ratelle. However, “administrative burden is one of the biggest obstacles currently across the City to implementing real estate projects,” continued the municipal representative.

The latter also demands that these new powers making it possible to circumvent the City's urban planning regulations be placed in the hands of local elected officials, who sit in the various district councils of the metropolis, the latter being, according to him, better able to know the particular needs in their territory.

More details will follow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116