Clarington Mayor says “collaboration” the key to meeting housing needs

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Published June 20, 2023 at 10:16 am

Friday’s Strong Mayor Powers announcement from Premier Doug Ford has put Clarington in the public eye, much to the surprise to observers outside Durham Region who didn’t realize the municipality – the largest by size in Durham with a large rural base – boasts a population of more than 100,000.

Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster, however, doesn’t foresee many changes in the way he and his Council go about their daily business, especially when it comes to housing issues: the focus of Ford’s new Strong Mayor Power policy.

“As the mayor, I believe it is critically important that Clarington Council continue to work together to solve tough issues like housing. Collaboration with my colleagues has been and will continue to be my focus as we navigate the rapid growth in our community.”

The province rolled out the new powers last fall, initially limited to Toronto and Ottawa. Ford and Housing Minister Steve Clark say the powers are necessary to expand the province’s housing supply – Queen’s Park has set a goal of 1.5 million new homes by 2031 – to address the expected population boom.

The powers allow the mayor expanded authority over city budgets and the hiring and firing of senior city staff. And only a two-thirds vote of city council can overrule strong mayors on decisions regarding affordable housing projects, public transit, highways and other infrastructure projects.

Foster said he is not against the new powers and in fact “welcomed’ the opportunity to learn more about how the new tool can help address local housing needs and meet Clarington’s target of 13,000 new units by 2031.

“Different communities require different approaches, but regardless, residents expect us to do all that we can to deliver on this important issue.”

Clarington Mayor Adrian Foster

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