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Friday, July 26, 2019

Parking lot to become fancy condo instead of affordable housing and Toronto is upset

A parking lot at 200 Queens Quay West was marketed as a new condo development last month, which triggered an ongoing debate over affordable housing.

At the moment, the property has an eight-storey garage, but Canada Lands Company is planning on building a 10-storey residential development with 55-storey and 45-storey towers on top.

This piece of land was formerly federally-owned and sold to Canada Lands when the Conservative government was in power.

As the waitlist for affordable housing in Toronto continues to grow to more than 181,000 people, councillor Joe Cressy is advocating for this land to be dedicated to affordable housing.

He received support from city council last week when he put forward a motion to write the federal government and all members of parliament requesting the site be put on hold.

Since TD Cornerstone Commercial Realty Inc. has already partnered with Canada Lands and began marketing the condos, Cressy asked council to mark this item as urgent.

In his eyes, there are two solutions. Either the federal government should intervene to adjust the terms to accommodate affordable housing. Or, all proceeds from the sale should go towards affordable housing.

But, neither option is possible, according to MP Adam Vaughan. “When federal land is sold to Canada Lands, elected officials are not allowed to decide who or how it’s sold nor rewrite the terms of sales,” he wrote on Twitter.

Since the land was sold before the Liberals took office, Vaughan said there was nothing they could do once the sale was approved, despite the fact that the transaction occurred when the Liberals were in office.

He pointed out three vacant city-zoned sites dedicated to social housing in the area and suggested Cressy shift his efforts toward city-owned land.

But, in Cressy’s view, since Canada Lands is a crown corporation that reports to Parliament and is a partner in the National Housing Strategy to create new affordable housing, they should “prioritize the public good.”

The sale has not yet been finalized, according to Cressy. “There is still time,” he wrote on Twitter.

by Hannah Alberga via blogTO

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