Doug Ford not budging on allowing fourplexes in Ontario despite criticism

By Tina Yazdani

Premier Doug Ford isn’t budging on his position on allowing four-storey fourplexes to be built automatically in Ontario, going so far as to say they would destroy communities made up of single-family homes.

“You throw a four-storey tower up in a tight-knit community with housing, they’ll lose their minds. Mark my words.”

The premier took aim at Liberal leader Bonnie Crombie, who has been pushing for policy that would allow fourplexes and four-storey buildings to be constructed in communities across Ontario without municipal approval.

“They can run on doing that, destroying communities, Crombie thinks she knows better. I’m gonna listen to the communities,” said Ford.

However, Crombie has been the only one.

The provincial government’s own housing taskforce concluded it would be the quickest way to boost housing in existing neighbourhoods, but the premier has ruled it out.

“This is a no brainer, you don’t put four-,six-, eight-storey buildings in the middle of a community of single-dwelling homes,” said Ford. “Don’t build it in people’s backyards they will lose their minds.”

Crombie called Ford’s response “sad.”

“It’s very sad that the premier would play politics with people’s lives, very sad indeed. We need to get housing built,” said Crombie. “Whoever recommends it, if the idea is a good one, I would run with it.”

Crombie said the premier’s concerns about tall towers in single-family suburbs are unfounded as typically fourplexes are two or two-and-a-half storey buildings, not six or eight.

“The fourplexes we recommend would have a maximum height to accommodate four units, but frankly they could be two-storeys and still accommodate four units, but the bottom line is we need to build more housing and it needs to be affordable.”

The Housing Minister tells CityNews there’s been virtually no uptake since the government allowed triplexes to be build as of right back in 2022. But the advocacy group, Environmental Defence, said that’s because of the government’s own policies restricting height and depth.

“You have to allow height, you have to allow more floor space index as the City of Toronto did, you have to allow deeper buildings. These are all things that are physical changes but they’re perfectly compatible with existing neighbourhoods,” said Phil Pothen with Environmental Defence.

“We have to dispense of the idea that a triplex or fourplex needs to look exactly like a single-detached house would.”

Pothen adds the government is making decisions that appeases developers and land speculators who prefer sprawl.

The federal Minister of Housing, Sean Fraser, has also called on the Ford government to change course on its fourplex decision, saying they have chosen red tape and the status quo rather than taking the housing crisis seriously.

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