Rideau-Rockcliffe Councillor Rawlson King provided a submission to Queen's Park on Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022.
Clerk, Standing Committee on Heritage, Infrastructure, and Cultural Policy
Procedural Services Branch, Legislative Assembly of Ontario
99 Wellesley Street West, Room 1405, Whitney Block
Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A2
November 17, 2022
Re: Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022
Chair Laurie Scott and Committee Members:
On behalf of Rideau-Rockcliffe residents in the City of Ottawa, I wish to register dissatisfaction with Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022.
I agree with Ward residents and community associations that this omnibus bill, which proposes sweeping changes to land use planning in Ontario, will have serious economic, social, and environmental implications for the City of Ottawa.
The legislation proposes to exempt developers from paying development charges and community benefit charges, and lesser parkland dedication fees. The Bill also includes changes to the method for determining development charges, and reductions in costs associated with rental residential construction. The cumulative impact of these proposed changes is significant, and contrary to the widely accepted concept that “growth pays for growth”. Under the proposed legislation, the City of Ottawa will not have the financial resources to provide local infrastructure in tandem with new development, leading to a choice between increased costs for taxpayers or less infrastructure.
Consequently, I am opposed to Bill 23, and I urge the Provincial Government to pause the legislative process, and not pass this legislation until ample opportunity is given for the Legislature to fully receive and consider input from Ontarians through meaningful public consultation, as well as comprehensive analysis from Ontario’s municipalities.
The proposed legislation, as currently drafted, perpetrates an unnecessary assault on the exercise of local democracy, by precluding opportunities for citizen engagement and intervention in municipal decision-making. It is evident that the Provincial Government timed Bill 23’s rollout so that it would be impossible to provide a comprehensive municipal response within the proposed consultation timeline and designed the rollout such that there would be no Committee hearings in the City of Ottawa.
Bill 23 imposes Province-wide norms for “as-of-right” infill development heights and densities, and restricts the municipality’s tools for controlling and regulating built form, thereby sacrificing local planning autonomy. While Ottawa residents are committed to the worthy goal of accelerating the rate in which we build new homes, their expectation is to be able to meaningfully engage in a fair and transparent urban planning process that encourages context sensitive intensification. The Bill also abolishes third-party appeals by residents to the Ontario Land Tribunal (OLT).
The proposed legislation also makes the administration of the Ontario Heritage Act a logistical nightmare for the City, especially the two-year deadline for processing a very lengthy City heritage registry list for the purpose of transitioning these properties to heritage designations. Under proposed changes, when a property is de-listed from the City’s registry because of inaction in obtaining designation within two years of being listed, that property cannot be added again to the registry list for a period of five years.
Most dishearteningly, Bill 23 allows development permits to be issued without due consideration for the conservation of land in ecologically vulnerable areas. The Bill also eliminates the mandate for conservation authorities to provide planning services, to guide municipalities in decision-making regarding natural hazards such as flooding, water quality and wetlands protection issues. The result will have a profound impact on protecting our environment from urban sprawl.
While we can all agree on the need for more affordable homes, it is evident that this legislation is not the way to achieve this goal. The cost to the environment, to the municipal finance structure, and most importantly to our democratic rights is too high a price to pay.
I therefore add my voice to those opposed to this legislation, which includes many concerned constituents within Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward and throughout the City of Ottawa, as well as many City-wide stakeholder groups who regularly make constructive contributions to the land use planning process in order to promote livable and healthy communities, cultural heritage protection, and the preservation of our natural environment.
Ottawa City Councillor, Rideau-Rockcliffe
Cc: The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario
The Honourable Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
The Honourable David Piccini, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
The Honourable Kinga Surma, Minister of Infrastructure
Critics for Affordability, Heritage, Municipal Affairs, Housing, Environment Conservation and Parks, Infrastructure
Lucille Collard, MPP (Ottawa Vanier)
Joel Harden, MPP (Ottawa Centre)
John Fraser, MPP (Ottawa South)
Merrilee Fullerton, MPP (Kanata-Carleton)
Goldie Ghamari, MPP (Carleton)
Chandra Pasma, MPP (Ottawa West Nepean)