Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, is an atrocity that will screw us over in many ways. I lightly touched on it a couple months ago in a little blurb, though I did not get into the full extent of how problematic it really is. Now that I’ve had the chance to listen to some of the municipal council discussions on the issue, I’m just boggled by how big a shit show we may be in for.
Although the intent of this Bill is to incentivize housing development by waiving development charges and reducing parkland dedication requirements, it comes at the expense of cash-strapped municipalities that will lose a great deal of revenue from development charges that typically fund capital infrastructure, schools and.public amenities. For example, the City of Mississauga will need to cover about $800 million over ten years. Given the imitated sources of revenue that municipalities have, this shortfall may need to be covered by property taxes. So taxpayers are effectively funding developers without any guarantee that these savings will be passed down to the end user because home prices are primary affected by interest rates and market conditions rather than development costs. Further, we get fewer new community centres and public spaces, which means families without back yards (like mine) have fewer places to take their kids and pets.
The whole point of development charges is to have growth pay for itself since development comes with the need for more sewage, roads and emergency services, as well as schools and public amenities (eg. community centres).
The Ford government also plans to open up parts of the Greenbelt, which would undo decades of planning to curb sprawl, protect natural heritage, valuable flood plains, and Indigenous Treaty rights.
Further, just simply increasing the supply of housing in the urban periphery doesn’t address the real issue, which is affordability. because what’s really the point of building houses in places where those who depend on housing affordability can’t even get to without the luxury of a car?
The clear winners here are developers that plan to build another sea of cookie-cutter subdivisions on lands that should be protected.
The Ford government has given an early Christmas present to Fieldgate, Condor and others.