TORONTO - The Ontario government is dismissing suggestions that the province's anti-sprawl policies are contributing to housing supply shortage and soaring home prices in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.
Developers argue that easing restrictions on construction of detached homes and townhouses on "greenfield" land -- areas set aside by municipalities for development as part of Ontario's growth plan a decade ago -- could help boost supply.
The province is expected to release its updated growth plan this spring after years of consultations, but preliminary recommendations suggest it will be more restrictive of low-rise homes, with higher intensification and density targets aimed at limiting urban sprawl.
The Liberals have promised to bring forward a package of housing affordability measures, with at least some of them to be included in the spring budget.
The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) would like the province to make changes to its growth plan that will allow developers to build more low-rise detached homes and townhouses on unbuilt land in the GTHA.
BILD and other industry groups note they aren't proposing venturing into the Greenbelt -- an 800,000-hectare area of government-protected swaths of farmland, green space and wetlands around the GTHA. Instead they're suggesting targeting the "greenfield" lands on the outskirts of the region's cities.