Sunday, April 14, 2024

Meed Ward clarifies Ford’s claim on Burlington not reaching housing target

First Published:

Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward has clarified Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s disputed claim that the city is not fulfilling its housing development target amid a housing crisis across the province.

Ford made the comment during a press conference last Wednesday after the auditor general released a report on the province’s decision to open up the protected Greenbelt to housing construction.

Ford said Burlington has only built 208 homes – or five per cent – of its pledge to construct 29,000 new homes by 2031. This amount is part of the province’s sweeping changes on housing development, with its goal of building 1.5 million homes over 10 years.

“It’s not fair to the rest of the province that there’s a delay in Burlington of only five per cent. That is totally unacceptable,” Ford said.

READ MORE: Ford, Meed Ward to meet after claim Burlington not reaching housing target

Meed Ward quickly rejected the comments, telling CHCH News Wednesday that the city currently has 38,000 homes waiting to be built.

The mayor says the claim that the city is behind is based solely on what is called “housing starts” rather than the number of homes set to be built.

A housing start is defined by the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Council as either the stage of building where concrete has been poured for the footing of the structure or an equivalent stage where a basement will not be part of the building.

Meed Ward says that Burlington is in fact last on the list for housing starts in the province, but insists that is dependent on developer’s failure to submit applications for permits and to begin construction.

There are currently over 3,000 units awaiting applications for site plans from developers after approval from the City.

READ MORE: Local groups, officials react to auditor general’s Greenbelt report

The mayor did acknowledge the city’s role in the delay of permit approvals, saying they are working towards speeding up the process. However, she says that the city cannot build if there is a delay on the developer’s end.

She emphasized the importance of looking past housing starts alone to see the true projection of housing in Burlington.

Speaking on the delay, Meed Ward says, “There are things we don’t control. We don’t control the land tribunal. We don’t control whether builders actually come in for a site plan or get their permit.”

Further, she points to interest rates, supply chain and labour issues as key drivers in the delay by developers and says that these are areas that provincial and federal support can ease.

Ultimately, the mayor says the success of housing projects relies on coordinated efforts from all levels of government and developers to each do their unique part.

READ MORE: Ford doubles down on plans to build on Greenbelt land in Hamilton

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