Statement on Inclusionary Zoning & Heritage Concerning Bill 108

Rawlson King, Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe (Ward 13), made a statement to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy on Bill 108 (More Homes, More Choice Act) before the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. The statement urges the committee to reconsider the proposed changes to the power of municipalities over inclusionary zoning and heritage.

I told the Standing Committee on Justice Policy:

"Of critical interest to Ottawa's Urban Caucus is the potential restriction on inclusionary going to limit it to only areas designated major transit station areas or to development permit areas.

We recognize that affordable housing in wards such as ours is desperately needed, especially by our most vulnerable residents. Housing near transit and amenities should not be a luxury enjoyed only by the most privileged.  However, the scale of housing need for out most vulnerable will go beyond what can be accommodated in the core.  

Diverse neighbourhoods are healthy neighbourhoods, and our whole city should be comprised of healthy neighbourhoods. Even within Ottawa's core communities, there is a very strong need for affordable housing that falls outside of half-kilometre circles on the map.  We recognize that development near transit stations will be tall and dense, but intensification is also taking the form of mid-rises and low-rise housing in established neighbourhoods.  Not every high-rise is being built in a major transit area.  Not every core ward has a major transit station.

Ottawa needs the flexibility to implement a local approach sensitive to our context.  We strongly urge the Government to re-consider this provision.

Bill 108 is also not good proposed legislation as it removes the right of local communities to have a final say on local heritage issues.  I represent a Ward in Ottawa, with two heritage conservation districts, that arguably have one of the largest concentrations of built heritage in this province.  Our resident believe that heritage conservation is primarily a local matter that reflects local history, community values and cultural benefits that are best managed by municipal councils who best understand community priorities. Bill 108 removes heritage protects and allows new developments to avoid the requirements of heritage impact assessments and other measures designed to ensure that heritage is reflected in planning decisions.

As a consequence, I recommend on behalf of my residents that the bill extend inclusionary zoning beyond transit-oriented developments and that heritage protections removed by this bill be restored."

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