By John Wilson
Rookie PC MPP for Mississauga—Lakeshore Rudy Cuzzetto was at The Compass on August 28, for dinner with The Compass Men’s Group, followed by a question-and-answer session about some of the issues the Port Credit community is facing. There was no shortage of questions, especially about the need for affordable housing, but some community members were less than satisfied with Cuzzetto’s answers.
Asked at the start of the question-and-answer session to address the lack of affordable housing in Port Credit, Cuzzetto said, “When [the Progressive Conservatives] left office 15 years ago, there were 200000 regulations. Now there are 384000 regulations.”
Cuzzetto refers to these regulations as “red tape” that is making it difficult to construct housing developments. As an example of this, Cuzzetto cited the 72-acre piece of waterfront land, formerly owned by Imperial Oil Ltd., that is the planned site of a mixed-use residential and retail development owned by a real estate consortium called West Village Partners.
Cuzzetto says that Fram Building Group, which is developing the site on Mississauga Road south of Lakeshore, will take “about 10 years to develop that land.” Cuzzetto says his party’s government would like to reduce that timeline “to two years.” The 10-year reference may be an exaggeration. A 2017 story from CBC says that early stages of the West Village site should be completed by approximately 2022.
There was significant pushback to Cuzzetto’s suggestion that slashing regulations alone would do much to solve the growing affordable housing crisis in southwest Mississauga, with one man raising the issue of increasingly high rent, which he fears will cause a “mass exodus” from the Greater Toronto Area. Cuzzetto said he would “look at” the rent problem, but did not elaborate on what measures the government would consider to solve it.
“How?” was the question from another man, asking Cuzzetto in what way cutting red tape would result in affordable housing. For Cuzzetto, this is a supply-and-demand issue. Cuzzetto’s contention is that if builders have fewer bureaucratic hoops to jump through, they can build more housing in a shorter timeframe, and this will lower the cost of housing. But several people pointed out that there are a lot of properties in the area that are already being developed, and they are not going to be in the range of what many people can afford.
Rick Penton, a member of the newly-established Advocacy Committee at The Compass, says that there is an urgent need for a solution to the issues of affordable housing and homelessness in Mississauga—Lakeshore. Cuzzetto listened to the concerns people at The Compass have about the housing issue, and his willingness to hear the community’s concerns is encouraging. But Cuzzetto did not provide any concrete ideas the provincial government has to address the need for housing in his riding.