We got some exciting news over the last few weeks in the real estate world, where it effects development and new construction. Everyone would have seen that Justin Trudeau announced at the liberal caucus that GST will be removed from purpose built rentals, which we are quite excited about.
Ontario has already said it will quickly follow suit and remove the PST portion of the HST as well. With both of these taxes removed it will offer some relief to builders and make many borderline projects become viable for construction. This is great news and certainly a step in the right direction to help solve our housing shortage.
There were also some interesting events that happened in the last few weeks in Durham Region that are worth mentioning as well.
Strong Mayor Powers used in Ajax
Ajax’s Mayor, Shaun Collier used the recently appointed Strong Mayor Powers for the first time in order to push through a 1200 unit twin 60 storey tower development. This was the first time Strong Mayor Powers were used in Durham Region.
Strong Mayor powers were recently given to a number of municipalities by the Ford government. They allow mayors to pass housing related bylaws with only the support of one third of the council members. It is not uncommon to have Councillors that want to oppose development, which is why this is important.
I have been at a municipal meeting where one of the councillors had said. “What am I supposed to say when I get a call from someone having a basement apartment put in their neighbours house, and they don’t want it in their neighbourhood. How are we supposed to help stop it!”
That the councillor didn’t say how am I supposed to communicate that we need to make changes so Immigrants and the younger generation get a chance at the same opportunities they did growing up is the real issue. It is because of these councillors that make Strong Mayor Powers so important.
Giving the mayor the ability to overrule council for matters involving housing, is another step in the right direction to solve the housing issue.
Durham Region Audit Has Begun
As you may know, the Region of Peel has recently begun disbandment. During the audit by the Provincial Government it was determined that the communication and processes between the cities and the Region were to inefficient. Mississauga, the largest city of the three, wanted to separate for some time. It didn’t want thier cities resources subsidising the other two cities. The cities will now fully govern themselves, which in theory will speed up there processing times and reduce red tape.
The provincial government has ordered audits of 5 regions to determine if they should be disbanded or remain. One of the Regions was Durham Region, and the Provincial audit began several weeks ago. The Region of Durham is less likely to have the same outcome as the Region of Peel as they work well with the lower level governments.
Regardless, if they get disbanded or not is another signal of things heading in the right direction with the government taking action to help increase new housing supply.