The City of Greater Sudbury has been allotted a provincially set housing target of 3,800 new units by 2031, and afforded the opportunity to receive so-called Strong Mayor Powers.
If the city meets its annual targets toward this goal, they will be entitled to receive approximately $101,000 in provincial funding per year for three years.
The city will receive less funding for falling short of these targets while hitting at least 80 per cent, and receive additional funding for exceeding the targets.
In a media release issued by the province on Monday, it was also indicated the City of Greater Sudbury will be afforded the opportunity to receive so-called Strong Mayor Powers, “If their head of council has committed to meeting these targets, in writing, by Oct. 15, 2023.”
Sudbury.com has reached out to Mayor Paul Lefebvre’s office for comment, and will report a follow-up story with his insights as early as tomorrow.
Municipal heads of council with Strong Mayor Powers will be allowed to set budgets, veto bylaws and pass bylaws with just one-third of city council support, as long as they deal with provincial priorities such as getting more housing built.
This week’s announcement from the province brought several municipalities on board with housing targets, toward their ultimate goal of 1.5 million homes by 2031.
“With these new measures, we’re supporting municipalities and giving them the tools they need to build more homes faster to tackle the affordability crisis that’s pricing too many people, especially young families and newcomers, out of the dream of home ownership,” Premier Doug Ford said in a media release.
“We have two choices: We can sit back and ignore the crisis, or we can build more homes. Our government is choosing to build homes.”
Although Ford mentioned this as a means of tackling the “affordability crisis,” it’s unclear how it will help spur the construction of affordable housing, since developers have a track record of centring their efforts on upper-end residential builds.
Sudbury.com has reached out to the province for comment, and will publish a report on the connection to affordable housing as early as tomorrow.
As it stands, Greater Sudbury has approximately 6,300 residential units approved through draft plans, or subdivision or site plans, which have yet to be built.
According to a population projections report prepared for city council by Hemson Consulting earlier this summer, an average of 610 net new residents are projected to call Greater Sudbury home annually to 2051.
Under their high-end growth scenario (200,000 by 2051), the consultants indicate the city will need approximately 400 additional residential units per year.
Last year, the city reported that 457 new housing units were built in Greater Sudbury.
With the provincially set 3,800 target encompassing nine years, from 2023-31, Greater Sudbury will need an average of approximately 422 new units per year.
“There is an urgent need to get more homes built quickly across Ontario,” Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark said in a media release.
“By providing additional financial resources to our municipal partners as well as strong mayor powers to help speed up the approvals process, our government is acting decisively to tackle Ontario’s housing supply crisis and build the homes our residents need and deserve.”
Tyler Clarke covers city hall and political affairs for Sudbury.com.