Last weekend (Sunday, June 5) the Toronto Star newspaper published an article written by Donovan Vincent which examined the mismatches between regulatory reality of Ontario’s planning process and the political promises of the re-elected Doug Ford government. The last topic in the article caught my eye. It was about so-called “streamlined development,” an initiative by the Ford government to encourage municipalities to speed up development approvals. Naturally, BILD was mentioned, a development-friendly organization which has conducted studies that have found that it can take as much as a decade for development projects to be completed, blaming slow municipal approvals as a major factor.
As a counterpoint, the article quotes David Hulchanski, a UofT professor, who told the newspaper that there are already thousands of housing units in the GTA which have been approved and are waiting for developers to build, and that delays are due more to developers waiting for the right market conditions. According to Hulchanski, “market conditions are number one affecting supply.”
As I’ve noted before, slow approvals have become an article of faith among many developers who insist that they are ready to build lots of new housing if only municipalities didn’t take forever to approve their projects. My instinct has always told me that this was straw man stuff, or to use a more modern cliche, gaslighting, so I’m pleased to see someone assert otherwise.