In June of 2021, City Council approved construction of a supportive housing project, consisting of 59 modular housing units, at 175 Cummer Ave. in Willowdale. Because the project provides urgently-needed permanent homes for individuals who are currently homeless, the City asked the Minister of Municipal Affairs for a Ministerial Zoning Order (MZO) to get the homes built faster.
Eight months later, the Minister has still not told the City if or when the project will be approved – even though MZOs have been granted at all similar sites in Toronto, including one in the Premier's riding. The difference here appears to be Willowdale MPP Stan Cho, who initially claimed there was inadequate consultation and later that the location is not suitable – neither of which is true.
This afternoon, John and Deputy Mayor Ana Bailão, jointly presented a recommendation to the Planning and Housing Committee to initiate a municipal rezoning process allowing the project to move forward without direct support from the provincial government. However, the rezoning of the site is a much longer process. Even one objector could delay construction of these homes past next winter.
Surrounded by supporters from the Willowdale community, John and Deputy Mayor Bailão urged the Minister to change course, issue the order, and get people into homes. Had the MZO been approved last summer, 59 people could have spent this bitterly cold winter in new homes.
"This project is going ahead. The only question is how long these 59 people will be without homes. The Province needs to act," John said from the podium.