TORONTO — Mike Schreiner addressed the annual conference of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association in Toronto this morning. The following is an excerpt from his speech:
“We have a housing affordability crisis. But it is absolute nonsense to suggest that we can solve it by blowing up municipal budgets, handing over protected land to a handful of well connected land speculators, and paving over the farmland that feeds us and the green space that cleans our drinking water and protects us from flooding.
It is obvious to everyone but the current government that promoting expensive, out-of-control urban sprawl is not the way to build affordable communities.
Carving up the Greenbelt is not only wrong – it’s unnecessary. Even the government’s own hand-picked Housing Affordability Task Force has clearly stated that lack of land is not the cause of the housing crisis.
We need to implement solutions that will put people and the public good ahead of well-connected speculators. Solutions like:
- Ending exclusionary zoning by allowing fourplexes and four-story walkup apartments, creating more attainable home ownership and rental opportunities within existing neighbourhoods.
- Cutting red tape along major transportation corridors allowing for 6 to 11 story mid rise apartments so we can quickly ramp up supply without the false choice of tall or sprawl.
- Investing in building affordable non-profit and co-op housing again so that average working folks have an affordable place to call home.
- Ramping up investments in building permanent supportive housing with wrap around mental health and other supports so that everyone has a safe place to live.