Feds won’t fund Calgary housing strategy unless city agrees to axe certain zoning rules

via CBC News

Calgary downtown skyline
This photo of downtown Calgary was captured by drone in March 2017. Calgarians are weighing in on a housing strategy this week. (Ed Middleton/CBC)

More than a hundred Calgarians are making their opinions on the city’s housing strategy known Thursday, as a proposed plan to create more housing and improve affordability hangs in the balance.

And a federal minister says funding for new housing is also dependent on what the council committee decides.

The committee is spending two days considering the recommendations made in the city’s proposed housing strategy, and collecting input from more than 100 people who have registered to speak at the hearing.

In a social media post on Thursday, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek shared a letter from Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser, which said if the city doesn’t legalize new missing-middle zoning designations, its Housing Accelerator Fund application will not be approved.

“[I]n order to receive a positive decision from me on your application — you must end exclusionary zoning in your city,” the letter reads.

Missing-middle housing is a term that often refers to buildings like mid-rise apartments, duplexes and row houses, which can increase density. The changes regarding rezoning would redesignate portions of land to allow for those types of buildings.

Gondek would not confirm how much that funding amounts to, as it’s still confidential, but she added that “there is a lot of money at stake here.”

“Millions,” she said.

Fraser’s call echoes that of federal Conservatives including party leader Pierre Poilievre, who wants local politicians to remove barriers to getting more housing built.

Ward 1 Coun. Sonya Sharp said it’s unfortunate to see the federal minister “dangle” funding in front of them on the day they start public discussions.

The City of Calgary’s Housing Strategy, if approved, would dictate the city’s strategy from 2024 to 2030.

Speaking at the public consultation Thursday, Deborah Yedlin, the president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said she supports the city’s proposed strategy.

(Mike Symington/CBC)
Article by Lena Hogarth
September 19, 2023

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