Cities Must be Made Whole: City of Mississauga Responds to Devastating Financial Impacts of Bill 23

Today, at a Special Council Meeting, City staff provided an overview of Bill 23, the Build More Homes Faster Act, 2022 and its potential impacts on Mississauga. The Bill introduces changes, which, if approved, would significantly limit the City’s ability to provide important housing-related infrastructure and services resulting in increased costs for Mississauga residents.

“We want to work with the province to build more housing and while we agree that bold action needs to be taken, it can’t be done at the expense of our city and ultimately, our taxpayers. Cities can’t be expected to fund provincial incentives to help bring more affordability to the market. Right now, we have no guarantees from either level of government that cities will be made whole and that’s extremely concerning. If passed, this legislation puts our plans to build and maintain parks and open spaces, libraries, fire stations, sewers, roads and public transit that future and existing residents need and deserve on hold. Our Council works hard each day to deliver fairness for taxpayers and I encourage the government to find a solution that doesn’t put the gains we’ve made at risk.”

Mayor Crombie

According to the staff report, the City stands to lose over $800 million in revenue over the next 10 years. This includes more than $320 million for growth-related infrastructure and a staggering 70 per cent loss of revenues collected for the purchase of parkland. The shortfall stems from Bill 23’s proposed changes to development charges and parkland dedication.

“Building complete communities requires cooperation with the private sector and all levels of government,” said Shari Lichterman, Commissioner, Corporate Services and Chief Financial Officer. “Cities are facing significant financial impacts but there is no guarantee that developers will be required to pass any savings resulting from lower growth and parkland charges on to new homeowners. This must be addressed because as it stands, the quality of life in our communities will suffer at the expense of developer profits.”

In addition to the projected loss of revenue, the staff report highlights the impact Bill 23 could have on affordable housing. The legislation proposes to reduce or eliminate the few tools municipalities have to deliver affordable housing.  For example:

  • The proposed five per cent cap for inclusionary zoning (IZ) units will result in a minimum of 30 per cent fewer affordable units than the City anticipated when it passed its IZ policy earlier this year.
  • The shift to a market-based definition of affordability for IZ units would mean that the vast majority of Mississauga’s essential workforce would be priced out of these homes.
  • Rental protection laws would be removed or scaled back.

As part of the province’s overall 1.5 million new homes target, Mississauga must pledge to build 120,000 homes in the next ten years (approximately 12,000 units a year).

“We welcome growth in Mississauga and have a robust plan to build more housing, including allowing for unlimited height and density in our downtown and gentle density in our neighbourhoods. But, as we build more supply, we can’t forget about affordability,” said Andrew Whittemore, Commissioner, Planning and Building. “Given the depth of the affordability issues across Ontario, the Province must continue to protect rental housing and ensure that the supply of affordable housing continues to grow alongside market units.”

The City already has policies in place that will assist Mississauga in achieving the provincial targets, however, the staff report questions whether the development industry is prepared to bring those units to market given economic conditions, persistent labour and material challenges.

The staff report also outlines concerns echoed by many stakeholders around the potential impacts on Ontario’s heritage, natural environment and the ability to adapt to climate change. Of note for Mississauga is the new proposed “Ecological Offsetting” policy which would set a dangerous precedent by chipping away at the amount of natural spaces covered by the City’s Natural Heritage System.

Today’s report, which was endorsed by City Council, authorizes staff to submit detailed comments on Bill 23 to the Government of Ontario during the consultation period.

Summer Arts Mississauga

Join us at Summer Arts Mississauga, July 11-29th! Summer Arts Mississauga features a variety of carefully selected art and maker workshops exploring spanning several mediums and materials led by talented artists to help you explore your creative side.

With everything from encaustics, fine painting, clay, tapestry weaving, eco-printing, soapstone carving, and much more, Summer Arts Mississauga invites participants to take a unique summer arts vacation experience right here in Mississauga.

Date: July 11-29th, 2022
Location: Small Arms Inspection Building, 1352 Lakeshore Road E. Mississauga, ON

New Program Ensures Rental Apartments in Mississauga are Well-Maintained

Renting an apartment in Mississauga? You can now rent with greater confidence knowing your apartment and building will be properly maintained as a result of the new Mississauga Apartment Rental Compliance (MARC) pilot program. 

The goal of the five-year pilot program is to ensure that rental apartment building owners and landlords comply with maintenance standards and the needs of tenants are being addressed.

The MARC pilot program features:

·     a requirement for building owners and landlords to register each year for the program

·     proactive apartment building inspections conducted by a dedicated team of Enforcement staff

·     a streamlined complaints process for tenants

·     potential fines for owners and landlords who fail to comply

“As Ontario grapples with a housing affordability crisis, it is critical that our City’s rental stock is well-maintained, safe and liveable,” said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. “Mississauga’s competitive advantage has always been our quality of life. By working together, we will ensure rental buildings are maintained and repairs addressed in a timely manner so that people can rent with confidence in Mississauga.”

Owners and landlords must register with the program if their rental building has two or more storeys and six or more residential units that share a common area. Condominiums, secondary units, long-term care homes, licensed retirement homes and housing cooperatives are out of the program’s scope.

The annual registration fee for 2022 is $18.25 per rental unit. Enforcement staff are currently contacting owners and landlords to advise of their responsibility to register. Failure to register an apartment building is an offence under the by-law which upon conviction, carries a maximum fine of $100,000.

“The City is strengthening its response,” said Michael Foley, Acting Director, Enforcement. “We are moving from a complaints-based process to conducting proactive building inspections. This could result in stepped-up enforcement that includes issuing charges and/or fines. We continue to encourage anyone who has told their landlord about a repair issue but the problem has not been fixed to submit a complaint for action by the City’s Enforcement Division. The goal is to make tenants feel comfortable bringing issues forward, knowing they will be resolved to their satisfaction.” 

Residents who have reported a repair or maintenance issue to their landlord with no response or action taken are encouraged to submit a request here or call 3-1-1.

To learn more, visit mississauga.ca/MARC.

Have Your Say! Participate in Virtual Engagement Sessions Shaping Mississauga

As we welcome spring, the City has a number of virtual community engagement sessions coming up on key projects that are building our city.

Have your say Mississauga! We want to hear your ideas and opinions on the projects that are transforming Mississauga. Here are the upcoming engagement sessions for April and May where you can provide input and gain a greater understanding of how we are planning and shaping our City’s future.

·      School Streets Pilot Project

April 12 at 6:30 p.m. and April 25 at 7 p.m. – virtual meetings

The City will launch its first School Streets pilot project at three schools: Hillside Public School (Ward 2), St. Alfred Separate School (Ward 3) and Brian W. Fleming Public School (Ward 3). A School Street creates a temporary car-free environment in front of a school during pick-up and/or drop-off times. This reduces traffic congestion and encourages students and their families to walk or roll to school. 

Two online community meetings are available for residents in Wards 2 and 3 to get more details about the pilot. Anyone who is curious about the School Streets concept is also invited to attend. All participants can ask questions and share their feedback as planning for the pilot continues. Residents can also share their feedback using an online survey.

·      Off-street Parking Recommendations

April 19 at 6 p.m. (Off-street Parking) and May 9 at 1:30 p.m. (Bicycle Parking only) – In person and virtual

The City is updating its off-street parking regulations under the Zoning By-law to support local business, help deliver affordable housing, respond to climate change and enhance travel, transit and walkability.

Off-street parking regulations refer to the amount of vehicle and/or bicycle parking required on private and public properties because of new development, redevelopment, building expansion or a land use change. Changes would not affect existing buildings or homes.

public meeting for off-street parking is being held on April 19 at Planning and Development Committee  (PDC) to consider changes to the Zoning By-law relating to off-street parking as part of the City’s Parking Regulations Study.This includes proposed changes to the City’s parking regulations for private and public properties as a result of new development or redevelopment.

public meeting for bicycle parking is being held on May 9 at Planning and Development Committee  (PDC) to introduce bicycle parking rates and regulations in the Zoning By-law as part of the Parking Regulations Study. Thisincludes amendments to the City’s Zoning By-law regarding bicycle parking requirements for private and public properties, as a result of new development or redevelopment.

·      Aerial Spray

April 20 at 6 p.m. – virtual meeting

The City is conducting an aerial spray this spring and will be hosting a virtual meeting to address resident questions or concerns. The spray will target and manage Lymantria dispar dispar (LDD), formerly known as “gypsy moth,” in affected city neighbourhoods. The timing of the spray is dependent on weather conditions, the emergence of the LDD caterpillars and the leaf development on trees. 

Register online at mississauga.ca/2022spray.

·      Increasing Housing Choices in Neighbourhoods

April 20 to May 20 – online engagement

The City’s Increasing Housing Choices in Neighbourhoods Study is exploring ways to introduce a variety of housing options in Mississauga. Housing affordability is a major issue in Mississauga and the wider GTA.

The project team is looking for specific feedback on concept designs for five different housing types: garage conversions, duplexes, triplexes, multiplexes and garden suites. As part of this on-demand, online consultation, residents can watch a presentation video to learn more about each housing type. The video includes design concepts and floors plans. After watching the video, residents can participate in a survey to provide their feedback.

·      Major Transit Station Areas

April 26 at 6:30 p.m. – virtual meeting

Major Transit Station Areas (MTSA) are mixed-use, transit-supportive neighbourhoods that will provide easy access to local amenities, jobs, housing and recreation opportunities. MTSAs generally include lands within a 500-800 metre radius (a 10-minute walk) of a higher order transit station or stop. They are located primarily along existing or planned transit corridors (e.g., GO Train, Light Rail Transit, Bus Rapid Transit). The City of Mississauga is developing its own detailed MTSA policies to align with Regional and Provincial requirements. 

This virtual information session will present the proposed city-wide MTSA policies and explain how they will align with the Region of Peel and other related City projects.

Register for the virtual information session here.

·       Complete Streets Guide

Provide online feedback by May 1

The City has developed a draft Complete Streets Guide and is now looking for resident feedback.

The guide provides a comprehensive approach to building safer, more complete streets in Mississauga for all ages, abilities and modes of travel. It will help ensure that all road users are accommodated and feel comfortable and safe sharing Mississauga streets whether they’re walking, cycling, commuting or driving. It will also help the City prioritize safer, slower speeds for all road users in a way that enhances quality of life while improving how a street functions.

Take the survey here.

Spring Safety Message: Be Careful Near Waterways

Hazardous conditions on and around bodies of water

Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) is reminding residents of the dangers that exist near rivers, streams, ponds and lakes this time of year and urging people to keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways. Melting snow combined with spring rainfall and frozen ground that is less able to absorb water can lead to higher and faster flowing water and unstable ice conditions.

Be safe this spring and remember the following tips:

  • Keep family and pets away from the edges of all waterways.
  • Unless an area is officially sanctioned for it, avoid all recreational activities on or around water and ice, especially near ice jams.
  • Do not attempt to walk on ice-covered water or drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
  • If you live close to the water, move objects such as chairs or benches away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them if water levels rise.
  • Avoid walking close to or across riverbanks, shorelines and ice-covered water to prevent falling through. Riverbanks and shorelines can be slippery and unstable due to snowmelt and erosion.
  • Rescuing a person or pet from icy water is dangerous. If you see anyone that has fallen through the ice call 9-1-1 for help immediately.
  • Stay informed with the Alertable app. Alertable is a Canadian public emergency alert system that offers CVC flood alerts in real-time, right to your mobile device. It’s free via the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
  • Know who to contact during a flood emergency.

CVC continues to monitor the Credit River watershed for potential flooding through the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program and will continue to monitor watershed conditions throughout the transition to spring.

Continue reading Spring Safety Message: Be Careful Near Waterways