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Published on Thursday, April 13, 2017

Oakville mayor asks Province to address housing

Mayor attends summit of mayors with Premier Wynne to address issues

Oakville mayor asks Province to address housing
Oakville Mayor Rob Burton
By Marta Marychuk, Oakville Beaver

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton was one of the mayors and regional chairs from the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to meet with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on Wednesday, April 12, to discuss housing affordability at Queen’s Park.

“I am pleased to see the Ontario government taking the issue of affordability seriously, and bringing municipal leaders to the table to discuss solutions. It is absolutely critical that we work together to ease the unsustainable increases in the housing market while avoiding a sharp correction,” Burton said in a statement.

Facing public pressure to stop skyrocketing house prices, Wynne promised that her government would introduce a package of measures “very soon” that would address housing affordability.

On Wednesday, Wynne, along with Ontario Housing Minister Chris Ballard and Municipal Affairs Minister Bill Mauro, met with the mayors and chairs of the GTHA.

“The GTHA Mayors and Chairs represent diverse communities with many different challenges. One issue of particular concern to Oakville residents is the increasing number of vacant homes caused by rampant speculation. This affects the vitality and life of our neighbourhoods, and I hope to see it addressed by the Province in the near future.”

At the March 29 meeting of Halton Regional Council, Burton voiced his concern on the number of vacant homes throughout the Region — calling for regional staff to investigate and report back on vacant residential real estate in Halton.

Burton said there are there are 2,400 vacant homes in Oakville alone, another 1,200 vacant homes in Burlington; and, another 1,300 vacant homes in Milton.

“I was relieved to hear the Premier reiterate that the Province will not be opening the greenbelt up to development. There is no single ‘silver bullet’ to deal with the affordability issue, but we should be absolutely clear that the protected farmland and natural heritage areas in the greenbelt have nothing to do with it.”

One way to provide more affordable housing options for Ontarians is to remove the barriers that prevent municipalities from expediting the permit approval process for home builders,” said Tim Hudak, CEO of the Ontario Real Estate Association, in a media release.

“In Ontario, it can take over 18 months to get municipal approvals for standard, single-family and multiple-dwelling projects that may require rezoning.

“Another solution is to invest in infrastructure to service housing-ready land. We need to put more new builds and resale homes on the market faster, and the kinds of homes that first-time buyers and young families can afford, like townhomes, duplexes and stacked-townhomes,” Hudak, former leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, added.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

Categories: News

Tags: Growth , Greenbelt , Oakville Town Council

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