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Ontario's 'More Homes, Built Faster Act' more likely to do the opposite: Eby

The Region's former chief planner says many likely unaware of changes being made and "damage it'll cause"
2021 1114 Waterloo Region Nature BG 5
Along the Linear Trail in Cambridge.

A former chief planner here in Waterloo Region has added his voice to the chorus of criticism facing the province's latest housing bill.

It comes just a day after the premier told municipal mayors still opposed to the More Homes, Built Faster Act to "get on board" and "stop whining".

But while there's absolutely no question about the need for more housing in Ontario, there does seem to be a question as to whether this bill will do that.

"And I think, without question, the answer to that is 'no'," said Kevin Eby, former director of community planning at the Region of Waterloo.

Eby said it still seems many people are unaware of all the changes being made as part of this bill or all the "damage" he says they're likely to cause.

He said those include things like the removal of lands from the Greenbelt, lost municipal revenue, reducing the role of conservation authorities, and more.

"But far and away the most serious change here in the Region of Waterloo will be the elimination of regional planning and the regional Official Plan," Eby said.

"The strength of this region has been the partnerships between the region and the local municipalities and, in fact, regional planning has helped create a context and a coordination to make sure that partnership is effective," he said, pointing to things like a booming regional economy and some of the best-protected, most-profitable, highest-quality farmland in the country.

"But, without question, the success has been based on coordination provided through regional planning, and many of the things we take for granted today would never have happened had the local municipalities been left to make decisions individually, outside of the regional context," Eby said.

In the end, when asked whether the More Homes, Built Faster Act looks likely to facilitate more homes being built faster, Eby said he believes it more likely to do the exact opposite.

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