In recent years, growth in the GTA has caused many problems. It is destroying some neighborhoods and building uncomfortably dense centers creating traffic gridlock and unlivable communities with few, if any, public amenities. Canada is also in the grip of a housing affordability crisis that has seen house prices triple in the past 10 years.
A Housing Affordability Task Force was formed by the Ontario government to generate ideas to address the housing crisis. It is interesting to note the task force was made up of primarily developers, financial intuitions and governmental agencies. Missing from the table are the most affected stakeholders such as non-profits, concerned citizen groups and the general public.
In March, the Mississauga Residents Association Network (MIRANET) along with more than 50 residents’ associations, non- partisan, and non-profit groups from across the GTA joined together to form A Better GTA (http://www.abettergta.com). A Better GTA was formed to collectively raise concerns of residents across the GTA who believe that there exists a lack of a sensible growth and vision, along with overdevelopment of our communities.
A Better GTA, including MIRANET, wrote to Premier Doug Ford on March 1st to outline the need for full transparency requested a deferral of any implementation of the findings of the task force report, until residents and the private sector had an equal opportunity to address their concerns and offer alternative solutions.
The current housing task force report is built on a false premise and its recommendations would not solve the problem. Instead, the recommendations would result in weakening the power of municipalities and citizens to help determine the nature of the communities that they live in.
The City of Mississauga is very concerned about the recommendations made by the Affordability Task Force. On March 10th the City of Mississauga issued their review of the Affordability Task Force report card which outlined the City’s position on each recommendation. See link https://www.mississauga.ca/publication/ontario-housing-affordability-task-force-report-card
From the 62 task force recommendations that the city reviewed, they were opposed to 29, in support of 19 and neutral to 14.
The solutions to the GTA’s issues with housing, transportation, climate management, and more are not out of our reach. We can build a great city that provides for all of this and addresses our affordability problems. However, first, we ask that your government defer any further action on implementing any legislation which would enact the current TOC policies or the Task Force report. This concern is clearly echoed by many municipal councils and Mayoral associations throughout the GTA. There is no rush. Give residents the opportunity to make our case.
A comprehensive, win-win and durable solution must involve ALL stakeholders. It is not too late to get community buy-in to solve the affordability crises. A Summit is critical to bring all affected stakeholders to the table and come up with reasonable solutions that work for all. This issue concerns us all. Get your voices heard and reach out to your MPP.