Breaking up Durham? Provincial facilitator headed to Region HQ in Whitby September 11

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Published August 22, 2023 at 5:11 pm

Steve Clark, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, said Durham Region would have a provincial facilitator appointed to it on Sept. 11.

Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Steve Clark told delegates at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference today (August 22) that he would appoint a regional facilitator to Durham Region by Sept. 11.

As well as Durham, regional facilitators will also be heading to Niagara, Halton, Waterloo, York, and Simcoe County on the same day.

The appointments are part of the government’s plan to get at least 1.5 million homes built by 2031.

The facilitators will be assessing local governance structures in these communities, with Clark warning that the facilitators will be there to ensure the municipalities are”prepared to support future growth and meet the needs of their residents, particularly when it comes to building homes and housing-enabling infrastructure.”

The announcement comes a day after Premier Doug Ford unveiled plans for a bonus plan for municipalities who are on track to exceed their housing targets, with Pickering cited as being on schedule to top their target by 150 per cent, a pace that would net the city $7 million in bonuses.

“Our government remains intently focused on helping Ontarians find the homes they need and deserve,” said Clark. “We are working closely with our municipal partners to ensure they have the tools they need to meet their housing targets and will keep fighting to reach our goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031.”

Durham Chair John Henry released a statement in May stressing there have been “no concerns” raised by the region’s mayors and councillors about the size and structure of the Region, noting that Durham has a “productive and strong track record” of working together to serve its residents.

Henry’s comments were echoed by Whitby Mayor Elizabeth Roy, who said at the time the Durham Mayors were watching “very closely” the provincially-mandated and very much acrimonious break-up of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon.

“As for what we’re witnessing, it’s not in the talks for us, it’s not in the rumours being put out,” she said.

In 2022, the Province claims that housing starts in the province surpassed 96,000 – the second-highest number since 1988 and 30 per cent higher than the annual average for the past 20 years.

The Province says that rental housing construction improved as well, with 2022 setting a new record of nearly 15,000 starts. The trend continues in 2023, with a seven per cent increase in starts over the first seven months versus 2022 and a 44 per cent increase in rental starts.

With files from Don Redmond

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