June 4, 2019 2:29 pm
Updated: June 4, 2019 3:08 pm

Hamilton’s mayor calls provincial housing bill ‘shortsighted’

Ontario Premier Doug Ford, left, stands with Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing outside his office in the Queen's Park Legislature in Toronto as he takes questions after announcing the cancellation of retroactive cuts that have hit public health, child care and other municipal services, on Monday, May 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
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A proposed piece of provincial legislation that aims to increase housing supply and affordability will actually have a negative impact on taxpayers, according to Hamilton’s mayor.

Speaking on Global News Radio 900 CHML’s Bill Kelly Show, Fred Eisenberger said he is totally opposed to Bill 108, the More Homes, More Choice Act, which includes changes to 13 pieces of legislation.

“It’s shortsighted,” said Eisenberger. “It is totally contrary to where most municipalities need to go, which is to try and contain their costs by being more sustainable and having a more intense development model. So drawing a firm line around the urban boundary is one way of doing that. If the province opens that up, that really takes that whole sustainability issue off the table.”

READ MORE: Hamilton’s mayor calls on Premier Doug Ford to ‘stop the surprises’ on budget cuts


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He says the bill would change how municipalities can impose development charges, which help to cover the cost of services that go along with growth, including roads, water, and sewer infrastructure.

“Development charges actually cover off those costs. And if they start meddling with that or start reducing that arbitrarily, that certainly is a benefit to developers but it’s a total negative for municipalities because that’s part of our revenue stream to be able to afford all of that.”

Eisenberger was part of a coalition of Ontario mayors who urged the Ford government to extend the deadline for comments on the bill from June 1 to September 30.

READ MORE: Ontario’s big-city mayors concerned about province’s municipal funding cuts, Bill 108

The coalition also called on the province to backtrack on retroactive funding cuts to municipalities. The PCs did back down on cutting funding for public health, child care, and ambulance services.

The third reading of Bill 108 is expected to go ahead this week and could be passed before the legislature breaks for the summer on Friday.

READ MORE: Premier Ford announces government will cancel retroactive cuts to municipalities

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