The federal government has promised to give Ottawa about $176 million through the housing deal, in return for the city to ease zoning rules to allow more housing units.
The money comes from the federal government’s $4 billion Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF), which Housing Minister Sean Fraser gives to cities that show an “entice” to accelerate construction.
Federal and city officials announced the agreement Monday at the site of the Ottawa Community Housing Project in Waterridge Village, a former east-end military base.
The federal government said in a media release that the agreement will speed up the construction of more than 4,400 homes in Ottawa over the next three years and spur the development of thousands more over 10 years.
The announcement comes less than three months after the City Council asked staff to consider allowing four units on all developed lots as part of an ongoing zoning ordinance review. .
Fraser brought up the policy, which allows fourplexes in low-density areas, in negotiations with cities across the country. At least one city, Windsor, Ont., made no changes but lost funding.
“Through a comprehensive bylaw review process, more housing options will be created in the city, including up to four units of affordable and missing transitional housing that are currently available for rent,” said a media release announcing the Ottawa deal. It will be possible.” ” No mention is made of the distinction between serviced and unserviced lots.
Mr Fraser did not attend Monday’s announcement, with Kanata-Carleton MP and Minister for Families, Children and Social Development Jenna Suds representing him alongside Mayor Mark Sutcliffe.
What does Ottawa need to do to get the cash?
The city’s application, approved by city council in July, listed nine separate actions to accelerate housing construction in Ottawa. They include:
- Use HAF funding to support nonprofit affordable housing projects that are ready to build but lack funding.
- Relaxing zoning rules around major transit stations to allow for taller buildings.
- Expedite the use of city-owned land for affordable housing.
- A community improvement plan that provides financial incentives for affordable housing.
- Streamline plan approvals.
- On-site stormwater management tools to support multi-unit infill development.
The City Council also committed to implementing the state-imposed policy of allowing three units, as shown. This will now be replaced by the four-unit policy, but the council will still have to pass the policy as part of the new zoning ordinance.
The city has agreed to implement the ordinance in the first half of 2024, according to a federal media release.
Another pledge to clear the bureaucratic hurdle of converting office space to housing already passed the City Council in November.
Housing shortage requires huge investment
When the City Council passed the action plan, the city estimated that together these efforts could help build nearly 7,000 homes instead of the 4,400 estimated in the new agreement.
Monday’s announcement includes contracts for $74 million in London, Ont., $79 million in Halifax, $113 million in Mississauga, Ont., $115 million in Vancouver and $471 million in Toronto, among others. It continues.
HAF aims to accelerate the construction of hundreds of thousands of additional homes over the next 10 years across Canada.
However, the Canada Mortgage Corporation’s 2023 report estimates that about 3.5 million more homes will be needed by 2030 to restore affordability to 2004 levels.
The report says about 1.5 million people will be needed in Ontario alone.
According to CMHC, there were 8,632 housing starts in Ottawa last year, most of them apartments.
HAF funding comes with strings attached, as cities are subject to reporting requirements and progress reviews to ensure they are delivering on their promises. Only a portion of the total will be released in advance, the rest will be provided in annual installments over his three years.