Committee approves Housing Accelerator Fund action plan

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal blue stripe are in the foreground with with "Finance and Corporate Services Committee update" in the centre.

On July 4, the Finance and Corporate Services Committee approved the action plan portion of the City’s application for the Housing Accelerator Fund(link is external). The City anticipates receiving more than $150 million from the $4-billion federal fund that aims to create more housing supply more quickly.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) will determine funding based on the number of dwelling units it estimates would be issued permits before September 2026 as a direct result of initiatives in the action plan. In line with CMHC requirements, the action plan identifies nine initiatives to increase building permits issued by at least 10 per cent over three years. They include:

  • Accelerating the disposal and preparation of City-owned lands for housing
  • Implementing an affordable housing pipeline strategy
  • Streamlining planning approvals
  • Pursuing transit-oriented zoning amendments and inclusionary zoning
  • Increasing zoning permissions to allow for multi-unit intensification
  • Implementing an affordable housing community improvement plan
  • Establishing an office-to-residential conversions pilot
  • Preparing a new comprehensive zoning by-law and Digital Twin tool
  • Developing an on-site storm water management tool

After funding awarded to the City is confirmed in July, staff will return to Council with a roadmap of next steps, including determining how the funding will be allocated. The Planning and Housing Committee will consider this matter on Wednesday, July 5.

The Committee also approved changes to the City’s advisory bodies. They include redefining advisory committees as statutory and policy-based advisory bodies that are either required under legislation or that have direct ties to legislation. The changes would establish four advisory committees:

  • The Accessibility Advisory Committee, required under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act
  • The Community Safety and Well-being Advisory Committee, required under the Police Services Act
  • The French Language Services Advisory Committee, required under the City’s Bilingualism Policy and tied to both the Bilingualism By-law and the City of Ottawa Act
  • The Planning Advisory Committee, required under the Planning Act

The report also recommends the City create a Transit Working Group to provide advice to Transit Services on matters related to operating public transit. Working group members could raise matters for discussion, including those related to the transit customer experience, and would likely meet three or four times a year.

The Committee approved The Ottawa Hospital’s request to release a reversionary covenant at 1967 Riverside Drive. The hospital plans to develop a privately operated seniors retirement community on this site. The City had previously provided this land to the hospital, but maintained the covenant to protect the City’s future interest. In return for releasing this covenant, the City will be compensated in the amount of $12.9 million, which is based on the current market value of the land.

Items from this meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, July 12, 2023.

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