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.
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.
Lots of discussion today regarding the Canada Lands Corp sale of 200 Queens Quay for 45 and 55 story condo towers. Here are two ways to resolve it: 1. Adjust the terms to require affordable housing. 2. Adjust the terms to ensure all proceeds from the sale go to affordable housing— Joe Cressy (@joe_cressy) July 26, 2019
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.
I support @joe_cressy’s City Council motion to protect our public lands at 200 Queens Quay West.— Diana Yoon (@DianaDYoon) July 22, 2019
With the affordable housing and homelessness crisis in Toronto & #SpaFY, it is critical we build new affordable housing on public land - not sell it to the highest bidder. #TOpoli pic.twitter.com/4EZiVvYjwk
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.
Joe here are 3 vacant city sites zoned for social housing nearby. Let’s get to work on those. If you want to meet Canada Lands I’d be happy to arrange it. I can also walk you through how to insert social housing in developments & deliver affordable housing like I did next door/3 pic.twitter.com/4kx3NpjDsS— Adam Vaughan 🇨🇦 (@TOAdamVaughan) July 26, 2019
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.”
Proud to stand with @theJagmeetSingh & NDP colleagues for affordable housing in #SpaFY.— Diana Yoon (@DianaDYoon) July 26, 2019
In the midst of the housing crisis, we need a government who actually builds affordable housing - not sell land to the highest bidder like the Trudeau Liberals have done here at Queens Quay. pic.twitter.com/EBr8nc1ZMJ
The sale has not yet been finalized, according to Cressy. “There is still time,” he wrote on Twitter.
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