Ontario approves enough housing, but construction drags on, report says
Ontario has introduced legislation to speed up home construction across the province.
Ontario already has more than 1.25 million ready-to-build homes, On paper. For many urban planning experts, the problem lies more in how the province could push developers to start work more quickly.
According to a new report from the Regional Planning Commissioners of Ontario (RPCO) on the state of housing availability, the province is already on the way to improving the shortage.
Once the construction projects have been approved by the municipalities, there is no obligation of timetable to build the said dwellings.
The RPCO says its calculations are based on figures from last year, before Premier Doug Ford passed the controversial Bill 23, aimed at accelerating the construction of more homes.
This project aims to create 1.5 million new homes in the next decade. This figure does not take into account housing already approved.
According to planners, if the province can get developers to start work already approved, it would already fill 85% of its objective.
I think [the report] shows that the housing challenge is not really a matter of land availability or a building permit approval issue, says RPCO President Thom Hunt.
< p class="e-p">Among the points of contention in Bill 23 is the plan to reclaim land in the Greenbelt to create 50,000 homes.
However, according to figures from the RPCO, Thom Hunt believes that the government does not in fact need to resort to such a measure to meet the needs.
It's not necessary to do an expansion of city boundary boundaries in most cases, and it's certainly not necessary to go into the Greenbelt, he explains.
He adds that the figures suggest that the government will have to make efforts to ensure that affordable housing is built among these projects already underway. He believes that partnerships will be necessary in this direction between the provincial and federal governments, non-profit actors and the private sector.
Toronto City Councilor Brad Bradford qualifies him the situation. He believes that the figures in the report cannot lead to the conclusion that the problem is solved.
He explains that having housing built is not easy.
I think the development circuit is often undermined by people who don't want to see more builds. There is a strong headwind in our effort to provide more housing, he says.
This includes rising interest rates, which make construction more expensive for promoters, inflation which increases the pressure on materials and the continued lack of manpower, says Brad Bradford.
Councilman Brad Bradford.
We can't rest on our laurels with permits. It will require a whole government and collaboration with industry, specifies the one who is also president of the Planning and Housing Committee of Toronto and a former urban planner.
Queen City planning chief Gregg Lintern has previously reported that an average of more than 29,700 residential units were approved per year from 2017 to 2021. During the same period, only around 16,000 were built. each year.
While the City approves twice as much housing as is built, it is important to allow for a wide range of housing to meet different needs, and to work towards improve the duration of consultations and reduce the time for authorizations, says Brad Bradford.
Matti Siemiatycki is the director of the Infrastructure Institute at the University of Toronto. He explains that the RPCO figures show that there are misconceptions surrounding the permit approval process.
While permits can sometimes take time to be approved, he believes also that there are certain forces in the market that tend to delay builds.
“We also know that some approved housing is not being built. I think we need more investigations into why this is happening.
— Matti Siemiatycki, director of the Institute of Infrastructure at the University of Toronto
Among the possible explanations, he mentions the fact that developers are sensitive to forces in the market and also worried about community rejection of certain projects. Sometimes promoters also face internal management changes that can derail projects that have been approved.
At the same time, it recognizes that municipalities have no choice but to respond to pressure to speed up the planning process.
At the end of the day, we need more spaces where people can live. If the system is stuck with projects that are not being built and there are ways to reduce this problem, it is important to do so, believes Matti Siemiatycki.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs explains for his part that the government cannot sit idly by while the cost of housing continues to climb. Even if all of the homes listed in the report are built, the province still needs hundreds of millions more to meet its goal, the statement says.
According to this gate I say, Bill 23 has already expedited the permitting and construction process.
Based on information from Shawn Jeffords