Cambridge holds out hope for provincial cash for reaching housing targets

Cambridge hopes to convince the province to take another look at just how many housing units the city created in 2023 with the goal of receiving some funding.Both Kitchener and Guelph have received millions through the Ontario government’s Building Faster Fund. The fund is a three-year, $1.2-billion fund that gives financial rewards to municipalities that meet their housing targets.Last week, Kitchener received $14 million. In March, Guelph received $4.68 million.Cambridge was told it did not qualify for funding, but deputy city manager Hardy Bromberg says the city disagrees.He said the city has worked with the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation and there’s a “discrepancy” between the numbers the corporation has and what the city has counted.”The numbers that we have would indicate that we have met the 80 per cent threshold of our housing targets, which would make us eligible for funding from the province,” Bromberg told CBC News.The problem is with the numbers around additional residential units or secondary suites, he said.”These are units that people put in, for example, an apartment in the basement or an upper level apartment, it might be an additional tiny home in someone’s backyard. And we issued just over 250 permits of this type and yet only 75 were captured in the numbers,” Bromberg said.He said it’s unclear why the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation didn’t count the other 175 permits, but they’re working with the corporation and the province to figure it out and hope to have an answer soon.”I think from our perspective the timeline was yesterday, but I guess the next best timeline would be at any time in the near future,” he said, adding the funding would be a “significant amount of money that we think should be going to our community to help with the infrastructure.”CBC K-W reached out to the province for comment on the situation in Cambridge. In its response, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing did not respond to what’s happening in Cambridge and instead, noted the fund will look at “new housing starts, new and upgraded long-term care beds, and additional residential units created by renovating or converting existing residential and non-residential buildings.”Waterloo not eligible for fundsWaterloo did not meet its 2023 housing targets but a spokesperson said in an email that “we are doing everything we can to meet our housing pledge of 16,000 units by 2031.”One problem the city has faced is approving building permits, but then developers wouldn’t start the project. It was an issue Mayor Dorothy McCabe said she raised with Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra.Last week, Calandra said the government would table new housing legislation aimed at building homes faster and it would include giving municipalities the ability to address stalled developments.This is a step in the right direction, shows the government listened and it will help the city meet its housing targets, McCabe told CBC News.”We’re going to be able to look now at developments that have been fully approved for a number of years, some dating back to 2018, to talk to developers and to see what we can do collaboratively to really see if we can get those developments moving ahead,” she said.”I’m hopeful that this will be helpful and will allow municipalities like the City of Waterloo to ensure projects that are ready to go, will get the necessary infrastructure to proceed.” 

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