Just over a week after Mississauga city councillors voted against a motion that would see fourplexes permitted as-of-right citywide, Mayor Bonnie Crombie has opted to use her ‘strong mayor powers’ to override the decision.
More specifically, Mayor Crombie has issued a “Mayoral Directive” instructing the City to “move forward with the necessary steps to allow residents to build four residential units on low-rise residential lots,” according to a press release from the City of Mississauga.
The directive also iterates the need for more affordable housing across the city as “many current and future residents are struggling to make ends meet,” and calls on City staff to prepare the relevant Official Plan and zoning by-law amendments, schedule a statutory public meeting to be held before the end of 2023, and undertake the necessary steps to see the proposed policy and zoning amendments through the municipal planning process.
“Given the scale and urgency of the housing crisis, it is critical that leadership at all levels of government work together,” Crombie said.
“Issuing this directive will ensure that Mississauga continues to be eligible for $120M in important federal funding for housing and community infrastructure while allowing for much-needed housing to be built in our neighbourhoods for the next generation," she continued, referencing the funding sought by the City of Mississauga through the federal government's Housing Accelerator Fund.
Last week’s Council meeting, held on Wednesday, October 11, ended in a five-to-five tie vote and ultimately saw the motion struck down. However, Mayor Crombie, who is currently on leave running for leadership of Ontario's Liberal Party, was not in attendance for the vote. Though she has temporarily stepped away from her mayoral role, she still wields authority to issue directives as mayor.
It’s worth noting that Crombie had initially been quite vocal in her opposition to the province’s plans to extend ‘strong mayor powers’ to more Ontario municipalities. Even so, Mississauga was granted the enhanced powers back in June alongside 25 other municipalities. At that time, Crombie said that she welcomed the decision and planned to use them “sparingly and with a degree of caution.”
Friday’s Mayoral Directive additionally states that Crombie “intends to issue a motion to enact Official Plan and Zoning By-law amendments that will permit four-unit housing in Mississauga” during the November budget process.
“This is about increasing the supply of housing and providing greater opportunity for those who want to live in our city, including families and older adults who want to age in place,” said Crombie. “It is one of many ways we are working to build the ‘missing middle’ in our city and communicate to residents that Mississauga is tackling the housing crisis.”