Item - 2023.PH2.9
- This item was considered by Planning and Housing Committee on February 28, 2023 and was adopted with amendments.
PH2.9 - Villiers Island - Affordable Housing Update
- Decision Type:
- 14 - Toronto - Danforth
The Planning and Housing Committee requested that:
1. The Chief Planner and Executive Director, City Planning and Executive Director, Housing Secretariat report to Planning and Housing Committee in the third quarter of 2023 on:
a. the results of the engagement process with community stakeholders, landowners, users, and Indigenous communities;
b. a preferred approach for increasing densities to support the maximum amount of housing achievable, thereby increasing the number of affordable homes that can be created on Villiers Island in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments, consistent with the broader, city-wide goals outlined within the 2023 Housing Action Plan;
c. an estimate of the number of affordable homes the preferred approach would deliver to achieve a minimum of 20 percent and a target of 30 percent affordable homes on public lands;
d. an update on discussions with the results of intergovernmental discussions on a further phase of waterfront revitalization and approaches to support the delivery of affordable homes in partnership with the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
This report responds to City Council's request through CC2.1: 2023 Housing Action Plan for a status update on the work underway to achieve additional affordable housing in Villiers Island; and previous directions in 2017, 2021 and 2022 to explore opportunities to achieve more affordable housing in Villiers Island.
The City of Toronto, CreateTO, and Waterfront Toronto are collaborating to review the 2017 Villiers Island Precinct Plan (the Precinct Plan) and determine changes needed to achieve the City's housing goals, as well as the future actions and timelines to implement them.
The City, CreateTO, and Waterfront Toronto have conducted a preliminary review of the vision, guiding principles, and built form direction contained in the Precinct Plan. Staff have concluded that there is an opportunity to increase densities while broadly maintaining the communities' unique character, supporting City Council's priorities for housing and responding to the emerging character of the Central Waterfront east of Yonge Street. Opportunities for additional density align with the principles and policy intent of the Port Lands Planning Framework (the Planning Framework) and Central Waterfront Secondary Plan (the Secondary Plan) for creating unique, inclusive, vibrant, and complete communities.
Starting in Q2 2023, the City, CreateTO, and Waterfront Toronto will undertake public engagement on approaches to height and massing that would increase density on lands within public ownership by at least 30% above the Precinct Plan (approximately five acres of Villiers Island is in private ownership, mostly subject to active applications which are under appeal to the Ontario Land Tribunal). The built form and massing approaches generated from the density optimization study will be based upon the Precinct Plan direction to create a compact, complete community with amenities and services within a five-minute walk.
Additional density in Villiers Island, subject to the outcomes of the planning development review process and City Council's ultimate decision-making, could generate additional revenue to support the provision of affordable housing on the Island. This increase in density would also increase the demand for infrastructure and community services and accelerate the need for higher-order transit, all of which are essential for the development of a complete community.
The affordable housing strategy for Villiers Island will include a minimum of 20% and a target of 30% affordable rental homes on public lands, secured as long-term or permanently affordable housing and aligned with the City's new income-based definition of affordability. In addition to City investments, support from the Federal and Provincial governments will be critical to delivering these homes within a mixed-income, livable and complete community. City officials continue to pursue discussions with their Provincial and Federal counterparts on a further phase of waterfront revitalization, including support for more affordable housing options along the waterfront.
The opportunities for increased density will be informed by a review of the 2017 community facilities and services recommendations, as well as the infrastructure required to support these opportunities, in collaboration with the appropriate City divisions. The Transportation and Servicing Master Plan for the Port Lands and South of Eastern areas (the TSMP) and the Waterfront Sanitary Servicing Master Plan (WSSMP), completed in 2017 and updated in 2018, respectively, guide the preferred municipal servicing to support the revitalization of the Port Lands. Estimates will need to be assessed to ensure the infrastructure can support possible increases in densities.
Another vital part of complete communities is providing convenient access to higher-order transit services. In July 2022 City Council reaffirmed the Waterfront East LRT as a priority project critical to waterfront revitalization in areas including the East Bayfront Precinct, the Keating Channel West Precinct, and the Port Lands. Staff will report to City Council in 2023 on the plans and costs to deliver the Waterfront East LRT network.
The review of the built form and community facilities and services recommendations may inform refinements to the Port Lands Area Specific Policy and the Precinct Plan Addendum and Zoning By-law Amendments. It will also inform Staff's approach to ongoing discussions with the private landholders in Villiers Island in the context of their appealed applications.
City staff are targeting to report on the results, including a preferred approach for increased densities and the estimated increase in the number of affordable homes, to the Planning and Housing Committee in Q3 2023.
Staff plan to bring a report to Executive Committee in Q4 2023 on a phasing strategy for Villiers Island and a business and implementation plan for Villiers Island phase one. These will inform the proposed updates to the Precinct Plan through the City initiated re-zoning process in early 2024.
Given the relatively small amount of land that is privately owned in Villiers Island, most of which is subject to active development applications that are under appeal, it is anticipated that the appropriate densities and resulting built form and massing, as well as provision of affordable housing on privately-owned lands, will be addressed through ongoing discussions in the context of the active appeals.
(February 27, 2023) Letter from Tim Kocur, Executive Director, Waterfront BIA (PH.New)
(February 27, 2023) Letter from David Chan, President, East Waterfront Community Association (PH.New)
(February 28, 2023) E-mail from Mark Richardson, Technical Lead, HousingNow TO (PH.New)
Mark Richardson, HousingNowTO.com
1. Recommendation 1.b of the report be amended by deleting "more affordable housing in Villiers Island" and replacing it with "the maximum amount of housing achievable, thereby increasing the number of affordable homes that can be created on Villiers Island in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments, consistent with the broader, city-wide goals outlined within the 2023 Housing Action Plan", so that it now reads:
"b. a preferred approach for increasing densities to support the maximum amount of housing achievable, thereby increasing the number of affordable homes that can be created on Villiers Island in collaboration with the federal and provincial governments, consistent with the broader, city-wide goals outlined within the 2023 Housing Action Plan;"