As home and rent prices in Toronto continue to skyrocket, and interest rates continue to rise, on Monday, the city announced a housing pilot program that is set to bring affordable rental housing to a site currently operating as a Green P parking lot.
The 100-home project, located in the city’s west end at 1113-1117 Dundas St. W. (Dundas and Ossington), is set to use mass timber and other low-carbon materials for building construction, a new climate action strategy that will be the first of its kind in Toronto. As part of the city’s TransformTO goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, the new development will also see no on-site fossil fuel use and will maximize on-site renewable electricity.
The city is anticipating that with the success of the program, a new permanent scalable affordable and market housing solution (a Mass Timber Affordable Housing Program), will be developed and replicated on other city-owned sites across Toronto. The results will be assessed in the fourth quarter of 2023.
“The pilot program announced today will demonstrate not only the commitment we have to become a greener city but this approach can help build cost-effective affordable housing,” said Mayor John Tory in a news release. “This is good news for our city and a clear demonstration of the work we are doing to advance new ideas and implement solutions to pressing issues faced by our city.”
According to the report released by the city, the benefits of this type of development include improved quality of life for future residents, reduced costs due to efficiencies, and faster construction timelines. The program will primarily focus on mid-rise developments but can also include analyzing housing types like laneway housing, townhouses, duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, and low-rise apartment buildings, as well as tall building developments.
“We must take advantage of every opportunity to build new sustainable and affordable housing, and that includes unlocking the potential of municipally-owned properties. This is truly a new model for sustainable, mid-rise affordable,” said city councillor Joe Cressy, (Ward 10 Spadina-Fort York), who represents the area.
As part of the city’s HousingTO 2020-2030 Action Plan objectives (developed to help promote better access to safe and affordable housing), the development will benefit those from a range of households, including those from equity-deserving groups.
The plan is set to be discussed at a meeting of the city’s planning and housing committee on April 27.