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UDI News

City of Montréal Draft Regulation on Inclusion – “Discussions Must Continue with All Public Authorities”

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Montréal, June 12, 2019 – The Urban Development Institute of Quebec (UDI) shares the City of Montréal’s ambitions for the construction of 12,000 affordable social housing units by 2022 and reiterates that members of the commercial real estate industry have always been open to establishing mutually beneficial agreements with the city. “In the UDI’s opinion, a well-managed diversity of offerings is a boon for the city’s competitiveness. We welcome Montréal’s desire to provide a more predictable framework, something we have requesting for a long time,” stated André Boisclair, the UDI’s President and CEO.

The UDI also points out that the proposed regulation introduces certain measures that bring the city’s actions more in line with market realities. “Our market is under pressure: rising land and construction costs, recently introduced park fees and the announced Building Code reform are directly contributing to price and rent increases for the new units we are working hard to supply in greater numbers, while demand for our products continues to grow. Recognition of the unique character of the downtown market is a new plus for our industry,” Boisclair continued.

However, the UDI wishes to point out that the obligations imposed on project developers ipso jure, meaning that they do not require any amendments to the urban development plan, are a major irritant. Developers purchase these properties at fair market value. For the purposes of the draft regulation, the City of Montréal is appropriating a portion of this value without just compensation. In the view of the UDI, this is unacceptable.

“This proposal from the City of Montréal must be reviewed by all public authorities,” added Boisclair. “How can the City justify the fact that the buyers or tenants of new units, who will see market prices rise to offset developers’ losses on inclusive units, will be the only ones to fund its goals for affordable family housing? The public sector is transferring a responsibility that it has always borne to private-sector stakeholders. That transfer of responsibility sets a dangerous precedent. Even more importantly, it is premature because the Quebec government is still in negotiations with the federal government on a housing agreement that will strengthen the public sector’s responsibility instead and expedite, through the injection of new funding, the creation of affordable housing.”

The UDI recalls that to date, the federal government has reached nine agreements under its National Housing Strategy with various provinces and territories to support the development of better housing solutions.

The UDI further notes that a 4% rise in prices on top of the other regulatory requirements, which include those announced by the Quebec government regarding the protection of future buyers’ deposits, is putting even more pressure on our industry. “While there is some justification for all these measures considered individually, the fact of the matter is that their combined effect on affordability will be the opposite of what public authorities want,” said the UDI President and CEO.

In regard to the Accès-logis Montréal program, the UDI notes Montréal’s desire to review this major program by 2022. In many respects, the program’s criteria for granting subsidies for the construction of social housing exceed private-market standards. For example, for a one-bedroom unit, the program requirements exceed generally recognized standards in the mainstream market.

Finally, the UDI invites the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal (CMM) to show true leadership on the issue of inclusion. The Québec government has already entrusted the CMM with important responsibilities pertaining to social housing. By choosing not to agree on a common approach with the CMM as its first step, the City of Montréal will adversely affect its own attractiveness. Failure to do so will exacerbate the already significant price differences observed within the CMM.

In the coming weeks, the UDI will carry out a detailed analysis of the draft regulation. It will share the result of its review at the forthcoming consultations held by the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM).

In the meantime, the UDI hopes that the Partners Table, an initiative of Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante, will continue its work. “This forum has given rise to productive discussions. It is in our common interest to pursue that effort,” Boisclair concluded.

For more information on the UDI, please visit idu.quebec

 

 

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Source :

Alexandra Lee Gauthier

Conseillère aux communications - IDU

514 866-3625, poste 23

agauthier@idu.quebec

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The UDI aims to leverage urban intensification to sustain thriving, vibrant urban centres where people learn, work, grow and play. To that end, the Institute has established four key pillars. To learn more about urban intensification

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