November 4, 2022 — The West End Home Builders’ Association (WE HBA) fully supports the provincial modifications to Hamilton’s Official Plan. WE HBA appreciates the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s detailed review of the policy document with a focus on increasing housing supply of all types. WE HBA welcomes provincial support for the Urban boundary expansion, as was proposed by the City’s professional planning staff and further supported by a peer review of their work. The Ministerial changes will also provide direction to significantly facilitate higher densities and intensification levels throughout the entire city of Hamilton.  Removing the city-wide 30-storey building height limit further supports this goal. These adjustments are necessary and in the public interest, given the significant housing shortage our City and economic region is facing. Without addressing this, Hamilton will continue to see major displacement of our residents to neighbouring communities.

The population pressures leading to this point are unlikely to diminish. The outlook for Hamilton region to continue attracting international talent is bright – given Canada’s recently announced immigration targets and our City’s three leading educational institutions (Mohawk College, Redeemer and McMaster Universities). Our concern has always been that as the housing shortage worsens, it pushes up home prices in Hamilton, pricing out current residents and causing talented newcomers to move elsewhere.  For the sake of Hamilton’s continued growth, WEHBA believes strongly that it is time to take the politics out of local planning.

“The West End Home Builders’ Association is fully supportive of provincial intervention in Hamilton to help responsibly plan for the future. Our association strongly supports the boundary expansion, intensification and transit oriented communities as mechanisms to successfully accommodate our future population growth,” said Mike Collins-Williams, CEO of the WE HBA. “WE HBA believes that the City of Hamilton is well positioned to provide a range of new housing supply through both complete communities as part of an urban boundary expansion and through policy modifications and the removal of the 30-storey height limit in Hamilton’s Official Plan to support intensification on all BLAST network corridors and throughout the entire city.”

The Ministerial modifications represent a complete paradigm shift in the supply of homes which is necessary for Hamilton to achieve the stated provincial targets. We currently build an average 1,800 units a year, whereas the Provincial Planning framework requires us to begin building an average of 3,500 units annually. Furthermore, new population forecasting suggests that to address our housing crisis we need to build approximately 5,000 units on an annual basis each and every year going forward. This is a monumental task for which the City of Hamilton, the Provincial Government and the housing industry will need to work collaboratively to address. With the new Official Plan including a framework to better facilitate both transit-oriented and new complete communities, the WE HBA looks forward to working with the new Mayor and Council to address the housing crisis, while enhancing the quality of life for all Hamiltonians.