The Ontario government is proposing sweeping changes to laws that will impact housing development across the province.
Amendments to 15 different laws are meant to reduce barriers to housing development. Some real estate developers are supportive of the bill, Bill 108, because of the expectations around more housing supply. However, Bill 108 is facing significant opposition across Ontario.
One amendment in particular, would allow developers to pay a tax instead of preserving and protecting habitat of threatened species. Opposing voices are concerned about how this change would negatively impact Ontario’s wildlife and natural areas.
The Ontario municipalities of York, Muskoka Lakes, Oakville, Aurora, Archipelago and Lennox-Addington along with more than 40 municipal councillors have publicly voiced opposition to Bill 108. Furthermore, 75 scientists from across North America wrote a letter to Ontario’s Environment Minister urging him to reconsider the bill.
The tradeoff between environmental protection and housing development needs to strike the right balance. Housing supply issues and environmental protection are both important. Increasing housing supply can and should be done without causing adverse environmental impacts. This is particularly important in North Oakville where significant housing development is underway.