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'Housing Now' Initiative Takes Shape in Toronto

Housing advocates still expect controversies over the loss of parking to make room for thousands of affordable housing units.
January 23, 2019, 6am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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The City of Toronto

Lauren Pelley reports on the latest developments in Toronto Mayor John Tory's Housing Now initiative. Controversy looms, according to Pelley, as the initiative plans to build affordable housing on sites currently reserved for parking.

If all goes according to plan, according to a report provided to Tory's executive committee recently, construction could commence within two to four years to deliver 3,700 affordable units on 11 sites. Jennifer Pagliaro reported on the council approval of the 11 sites in December 2018.

"But with eight of the sites currently used for parking, some say blowback could be inevitable," according to Pelley. "Housing and open-data advocate Mark Richardson, who recently launched a website mapping the locations of the Housing Now sites, anticipates community and councillors' concern once there's more public awareness of the site locations."

Richardson isn't alone in this assessment. Other advocates back up his claim, and there is more than one city councilor on the record with pro-parking politics.

The Housing Now initiative has strong support from the Toronto Star editorial board, as expressed in a January 21 editorial. The editorial says, "[the] plan to develop 11 parcels of surplus land to produce thousands of new rental apartments, with some of them at more affordable rents, is an important change in city policy that should be welcomed and expanded on over time. It’s a big improvement over just selling the land to the highest bidder, all but ensuring that nothing but condominiums get built."

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Published on Tuesday, January 22, 2019 in CBC
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