Mississauga to consider fourplexes throughout city as pressure to increase housing supply mounts

  10/6/2023 |   SHARE
Posted in GTA News by Eileen Farrow | Back to Main Blog Page

Mississauga Ontario

The city of Mississauga could soon allow four-dwelling housing units across the city if a motion passes next week — a move some say would be a step forward in addressing the housing crisis. 

Brought forward by Ward 2 Coun. Alvin Tedjo and seconded by Ward 5 Coun. Carolyn Parrish, the motion aims to address what is widely referred to as the "missing middle" of housing availability — a term that means there's a lot of low-density single family neighbourhoods filled high-density areas with tall condo and apartment buildings, but not much in between.

The motion comes as Mississauga faces federal pressure to densify its neighbourhoods. The federal government says it wants to see more density in the form of fourplexes if the city wants more housing money.

With the motion, Tedjo hopes the city will gently increase housing density in existing neighbourhoods by adding additional low-rise options that will not place a significant strain on city services.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said at the Oct. 3 council meeting that making fourplexes possible is the way to go.

"We need to be bold," said Crombie. "It's so important that we embrace change by adding density where it makes sense."

She says Mississauga — a major city with a declining population according to the last census — needs to create options for new residents and young people who want to come home to build their adult lives but are struggling to find suitable housing options. 

The city was already mandated by the province to include triplexes through the More Homes Built Faster Act introduced at Queen's Park last fall, but Tedjo's motion takes the density a step further, following in the footsteps of other cities, like Toronto, which approved multiplexes in May. 

In Mississauga, triplexes have faced opposition from some residents, but the city mandated by the province to build 120,000 more homes over the next decade, council has been exploring options to meet that goal.

"This isn't where the city would naturally go on its own," said Tedjo, adding he's hopeful residents and his councillor peers support the move. "These types of units can be incorporated within the existing fabric of the neighborhood…it's not such a scary thing."

In Tedjo's ward, he says some schools are at less than half capacity. Fourplexes would create more affordable homes for young people and families to re-populate some shrinking neighbourhoods, he argues.

Simon Tran hopes to be one of those future residents. 

Tran lives adjacent to Mississauga in an Etobicoke highrise.

"I have a lot of personal connections to Mississauga," he said, adding that his family also has a business in the city.

"For me personally, and for a lot of people, I know they would love to live in a multiplex," he said, calling it "the bare minimum" council can do to address the housing crunch.

Concerns about speed of motion

Not all councillors are on board, however, with some concerned at how quickly the motion came forward, introduced on Oct. 3 and up for a vote a week later. 

Ward 1 Coun. Stephen Dasko said he frequently hears concerns a lack of street parking and wants more details on how fourplexes might impact the situation.

"I don't feel comfortable without doing my homework first," he said. 

And it's not just parking some residents are worried about. 

Athina Tagidou, a board member of the Applewood Hills & Heights Residents Association says more housing does not necessarily mean affordable housing. And she's concerned about more properties being used as short-term rentals.

"There's already issues with Airbnb, and the people just coming in and out of our neighbourhoods", a problem she worries fourplexes will make worse.

Staff said Wednesday that the public will have an opportunity to voice their thoughts about the issue at the council meeting on Oct.11. Tagidou says it's important any consultation that takes place with residents is meaningful. 

Ottawa may force Mississauga's hand with cash

A letter released by the federal Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Sean Fraser on Tuesday may push council to accept fourplexes, whether all councillors and residents are ready to fully embrace them or not. 

Fraser said in the letter that Mississauga's application for the additional housing funding would be stronger if it permitted four-unit housing throughout the city and made efforts to increase density near transit and post-secondary institutions.

The federal government's Housing Accelerator Fund has granted millions to other cities to build more housing if they meet certain requirements, often related to adding density and affordability. 

Taking additional steps indicated would "put me in a position to approve your application," Fraser said in the letter to Mayor Crombie, later made public by the minister and members of council. 

"I need to ensure the city is doing everything in its power to address Canada's housing crisis," he added. 

For Coun. Parrish, though there may be hurdles ahead, it is clear fourplexes are the way forward for Mississauga.

"We will get some pushback, but we know this but it's the right thing to do."

Council will debate and vote on the motion on October 11.

Source: CBC

Mississauga, Multiplex Properties

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