Donna Skelly speaks at Hamilton City Council in this June 2017 photo Credit: Joey Coleman / The Public Record

Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Clark says Hamilton’s plan to freeze the urban boundary and require all new housing units be within intensification projects is an “anti-growth and anti-housing ideology.”

Clark’s made the comments in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario today, in response to a government question from Flamborough-Glanbrook MPP Donna Skelly.

“Ontario has a housing crisis driven by a severe shortage of supply … and our government is using every resource at our disposal to build all kinds of homes” Skelly stated. “But some city councils including Hamilton Council, are pushing an anti-housing and anti-growth ideology that is preventing orders from being built and driving up home prices. This includes Hamilton Council refusing to expand urban boundaries.”

Minister Clark says he may send Hamilton’s urban boundary freeze plan to the Ontario Land Tribunal “as an impartial adjudicator” for review.

The OLT is required by the Planning Act to implement provincial planning policies, which are set by the Minister and Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

This includes requiring municipalities to prioritize ground-oriented housing by expanding urban boundaries.

“The Official Plans that I’ve seen like Hamilton and Ottawa don’t maximize the housing outcomes for Ontarians and instead prioritize anti-growth and anti-housing ideology,” Clark stated.

In a follow-up statement, Skelly asked Clark to “share the government’s long term strategy to address the housing crisis.”

Clark says the Progressive Conservative government is committed to its More Homes for Everyone Plan with “targeted policies in the immediate term that would help get housing built faster, get shovels in the ground and build all types of housing for Ontarians that deserve it.”

“Over the long term, the Housing Affordability Task Force is our government’s housing roadmap.”

Hamilton City Council is expected to approve a new Urban Hamilton Official Plan, with an urban boundary freeze, at a special meeting to be called in early May.