Councillors in Toronto have voted to approve an ambitious new plan that would see the city begin acting as a developer and building new homes.
The plan, however, comes with a slew of questions, most strikingly how it will be funded and if other levels of government are willing to chip in.
At a Wednesday meeting, council approved the city’s new “transformational” housing plan, a policy that includes many housing pledges that featured in Mayor Olivia Chow’s election platform.
“To effectively address the housing crisis, the government needs to get back into the business of building homes,” Chow said in a statement.
“This shift will increase housing supply and affordability.”
The city estimates its plan will build a total of 65,000 new rental units over seven years. It is expected to cost around $36 billion and relies on between $500 million and $800 million from both the federal and provincial governments every year.
The housing plan includes a list of 52 places in Toronto, owned by city hall, that are ready to have housing built. It estimates between 16,000 and 17,500 rent-controlled homes can be built there.
It also recommends another 40 places that could eventually host housing and be “added to this pipeline.” The new housing plan suggests the city act as a developer and lead construction at five sites.
While questions continue to hang over how the plan will be paid for, others ask if acting as a developer is the right solution for Toronto’s housing crisis in the first place.
“My concern is that we’re going to head in a direction where we start taking valuable staff time and resources pushing us in this direction … without the expertise to actually build housing,” Coun. Brad Bradford, who ran against Chow in June’s mayoral byelection, said.
— with files from Global News’ Matthew Bingley
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