Toronto mayoral candidate Ana Bailão on Tuesday shared details of her housing plan to tackle what she terms the missing middle when it comes to housing.
“Toronto has become a city of 80-storey towers and single family homes, with nothing in between,” she said. “As mayor, I would champion land use, planning, and zoning reform.”
At a media event downtown on the corner of Beverley and College Streets where medium density housing exists, Bailão announced what she said is a plan to increase housing supply and provide more housing options.
“I’m here with a sense of urgency, determination, and commitment to get it done,” she said.
Bailão spoke of the need to build transit-oriented communities and said her plan includes legalizing walk-up apartments on certain types of transit routes across Toronto and introducing rental zoning.
The former city councillor also took aim at what’s known as shadow guidelines in Toronto for buildings that she said have arbitrarily added to construction costs. According to the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, the aim of the shadow policy is ‘to mitigate the potential negative impact of shadows on the heritage values.’
Bailão said she will relax those guidelines to increase the number of units that could be built.
Another part of her housing plan includes zoning avenues to be ‘as-of-right’ for 8-12-storey buildings.
Bailão explained that ‘as-of-right’ zoning accelerates the process of building permits, rather than going through the long zoning process that could take up to a year and a half.
“This is all hands on deck,” Bailão said, adding that the city needs to do more to tackle the housing crisis.
“Across our city, workers, families, youth and seniors are being pushed out of our neighbourhoods and outside of our city to find homes they can afford,” she said.
“My plan will help change that.”
Bailão said she is qualified to make changes because she has the track record of negotiating billions of dollars to maintain social housing and building new housing in the city.
“I laid the groundwork to have multiplexes approved,” she said. “I actually moved the motion to have them not be charged development charges so it makes it easier.”
Late last week, Brad Bradford, another Toronto mayoral candidate, proposed new zoning frameworks for office to residential conversions as part of his housing plan.
“Something has to change,” said Brad Bradford on May 19.
“If we want a vibrant city that attracts and retains the best and brightest, we need to ensure there is housing available at every price point and make the most of the space in our city.”