a day after protests in downtown Kingston over the effects of bill 23The legislation was passed by the Ontario government.
Bill 23, known as the Building More Homes Act, aims to facilitate the construction of 1.5 million homes in the province over the next decade.
Protesters gather at Kingston City Hall to protest Bill 23
One of the revenue streams that municipalities will lose is development fees.
Ted Hsu, Liberal MPP for Kingston and the Isles, says he is concerned that Bill 23 could leave municipalities like Kingston facing tough choices such as raising property taxes or reducing services.
“It would mean $3 million in lost revenue every year. Bill 23 means Kingston councilors will be under pressure to raise property taxes to make up for that lost revenue,” Hsu said.
Urban Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clarke, who spearheaded the bill and defended the government’s move to build in the greenbelt.
“The fifteen sites identified had to meet very clear criteria, meaning homes could be built quickly, and an overall expansion of the greenbelt of approximately 2,000 acres could be achieved,” Clarke said. Many of the proposed sites have also been part of the municipality. Efforts to promote much needed housing development.
Wetlands may also be at risk of development, in addition to plans to build on the greenbelt, due to a restructuring of the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System.
“This is undermining the evaluation system for wetlands,” Su said. “We’re going to be building housing where we probably shouldn’t be building housing. We really need to take advantage of the land we already have.
The system’s older structure grouped wetlands together into larger complexes, giving them a better chance of being provincially important wetlands.
Under Bill 23, the wetland complexes have been abandoned, meaning they are now small, isolated wetlands, which makes them more susceptible to development.
Due to the risks associated with the development of the marshland, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority is concerned about the impact it may have on the environment.
“Until we see what the regulations will look like, and what the end result could be, there are certainly concerns at this point. We want to make sure natural infrastructure is in place to help with flood mitigation and connectivity on the landscape be there to help with,” CRCA General Manager Caterina Furlanetto told Global Kingston.
Minister Clark says a variety of housing types are being built that will accommodate all Ontarians, including single-family homes, townhomes and mid-rise apartments.
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