Province-level housing policies under review in Quinte West

City of Quinte West municipal offices. – Photo by Emma Persaud

The province is looking for input from municipalities on new housing procedures, and Quinte West Mayor Jim Harrision says they’d better offer financial support to help meet their requirements.

In response to suggested changes that would lead to a growth of housing development, Harrison said it’s up to using the infrastructure that’s in place and what the Ontario government can offer to support it.

“All of the building is dependent on the infrastructure we have in place and managing what we have,” said Harrision. “The province needs to step up and say: ‘We are here to help you to put in the infrastructure you need, here is some financial support to help you.’”

Last month the Ontario government introduced Bill 185: “Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, 2024,” which both updates and brings back policies of housing development across the province. The government is seeking input from municipalities like Quinte West on the changes before May 12.

Overall, Manager of Planning Services Kelly Weste, who prepared the report, said Quinte West is aligned with many of the suggested changes, including increasing mixed housing development and a push to plan housing needs up to 30 years in advance. Quinte West is currently looking at a 25-year growth horizon.

The province is also suggesting pre-approved housing designs that can help municipalities rapidly build housing with specific lot size and layouts in mind.

“I’ve been interested in standardized housing designs for a long time,” said Councillor Zack Card. “I am curious about the old post-war housing I see around Quinte West… Do you think this will push the needle on housing?”

Weste agreed. “I’d be curious to see what that standardization entails. We are seeing more variety of housing in our subdivisions and I’m wondering what the province will say.”

Other suggestions, like removing the third-party appeals, were not recommended to the members of council. The report states that removing third-party appeals “eliminates the opportunity to have meaningful public participation and debate on Planning Act applications and proposed changes to policy and land use,” leading to either a disheartening decrease in public participation or an increase in lobbyists that could lead to “more volatile meetings.”

The government gave municipalities 30 days to share their input, with the deadline for Quinte West set for May 12.

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