Regulations and hook-up fees make building extra ‘affordable’ housing units “unaffordable” – Pickering

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Published January 23, 2024 at 10:18 am

The province made some changes in late 2022 as part of Bill 23, legislation devised to boost housing construction and to ramp up more small-scale intensification opportunities in urban neighbourhoods and create more affordable housing by eliminating red tape and allowing more housing options.

The problem, believes Pickering Councillor Maurice Brenner, is that the building regulations that remain and the expensive hook-up fees required by local utilities make those affordable housing options now available decidedly “unaffordable” to homeowners.

“The problem is the cost to be able create those additional units is so high it makes it unaffordable,” Brenner said in introducing a motion at Monday’s Pickering Council meeting asking the federal and provincial governments to provide financial support to
those property owners who construct code compliant additional dwelling units for affordable rental housing.

“If the goal is affordable housing, we need financial supports for those who want to be part of an affordable solution,” he said. “Unless we make it affordable why would I want to do it?”

The changes to provincial legislation now permit two extra units that can be built on most residential properties ‘as-of-right.’ But the cost of infrastructure and building materials, coupled with expensive hook-up fees for utilities like water, electricity and sanitary, make it “unattainable and unaffordable” for most homeowners, Brenner explained.

One way around that problem is to waive the hook-up fees for any code-compliant additions, he added.

“We hope we get the buy-ins,” Brenner said. “We are badly lacking in affordable housing and homeowners need the support.”

The motion was approved unanimously.

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