DURHAM REGION HOMEBUILDERS' ASSOCIATION
At the June 21, 2021 Oshawa Council meeting, councillors debated a motion that, if passed, would have seen staff directed to create a policy for the city to move away from back-to-back stacked townhouses and to promote larger parks.
The motion was brought forward by Councillor McConkey at a prior Development Services Committee meeting. It was passed by the committee 4-2, with councillors Hurst, McConkey, Marimpietri and Mayor Carter in favour, and Councillors Chapman and Kerr against. The motion was then pulled for discussion at the council meeting.
After vigorous debate, the motion lost on a 6-4 vote, with Councillor McConkey abstaining due to a conflict. Councillors voting in favour of the motion were Mariempietri, Marks, Hurst and Mayor Carter. Voting against were councillors Nicholson, Chapman, Giberson, Gray, Kerr and Neal.
During the debate, Councillors Nicholson, Giberson and Chapman argued that limiting back-to-back and stacked towns would remove housing choice, remove more affordable housing options and in order to meet density requirements would have to be replaced with apartment buildings that would not be appropriate in many areas, such as infill sites.
It should be noted that the motion was amended during the council meeting, but as of July 8, 2021, the meeting's minutes have not yet been posted, and the City of Oshawa's livestream technology does not allow for viewers to see amendments on the screen. However, based on discussion it appears that the amendment was to have the policy apply to future development and not to projects already underway.
The original motion read:
Whereas, on June 8, 2020, the Development Services Committee referred the following matter (Item DS-20-69) to staff:
Whereas, people need access to the trees and birds and wildlife for their wellbeing and mental health, to paraphrase a well-known Canadian author, our brains are hot-wired to want places outdoors, there's a reason people are more relaxed around trees than around concrete and glass and asphalt; and,
Whereas in 2020 high density urban areas without a readily accessible public space outdoors became a part of the pandemic problem, one takeaway from the shutdown is that our urban growth strategies need to factor in more green space, we need to start looking at ways to get more green space in our cities, people need to be able to go outside, they need more parks, this should be an essential service; and,
Now therefore, the City of Oshawa shall establish a consultative process during the process for urban design, secondary plans, infill developments and subdivision plans that gives strong consideration to the impact of COVID-19 and other future pandemics, and promotes larger parks and a move away from back-to-back stacked townhomes."; and,
Whereas, the City seeks the input of the public and other stakeholders on the location of residential areas to be developed of various densities, including areas that permit back-to-back stacked townhouses (considered apartment buildings by definition in Zoning By-law 60-94) as well as on the location and size of parks and open space areas through robust planning exercises and development review processes, including statutory public consultation under the Planning Act for such matters as new Part II Plans (i.e. Columbus Part II Plan), amendments to the Oshawa Official Plan and Zoning By-law 60-94, and applications for proposed draft plans of subdivision; and,
Whereas given the current housing market back-to-back townhouses and stacked townhouses are among the more affordable entry level housing types and provide an alternative to traditional mid- and high-rise apartment buildings; and;
Whereas, Habitat for Humanity is proposing to construct stacked townhouses as an affordable condominium home ownership model on lands acquired from the City at 485 and 501 Normandy Drive, a project that was the subject of recent approvals from the Committee of Adjustment for various zoning variances; and,
Whereas, stacked townhouses assist to achieve various housing density targets as mandated by the Province; and,
Whereas, the City has advanced the acquisition of additional parkland throughout the City such as in the downtown, older developed urban areas and in greenfield areas; and,
Whereas the City has recently advanced the development of new parks including the Ed Broadbent Waterfront Park along the waterfront, Dr. Blake Parkette and the Dale Hawerchuk Parkette in older developed neighbourhoods, and the Thornton Community Park which includes a bike park; and,
Whereas, as part of ongoing development in the City involving components of the Natural Heritage System such as creek valleys, wetlands and woodlots, the City acquires such areas for open space and recreation purposes that residents can enjoy; and,
Whereas, the City also advances the development of active transportation facilities such as multi-use paths, and recreational trails within parks and open space areas;
Therefore staff be directed to establish a policy and consultative process to promote larger parks and move away from back to back stacked townhouses.
The Town of Ajax has directed staff to investigate a Residential Rat Control Rebate Program.
Detailed in report LIS 2021-01, the Town is investigating ways to mitigate the current rat problem.
The report recommends that staff prepare the necessary by-laws to enable the Town to require, where appropriate, a Pest Clearance Certificate as a pre-condition to obtaining a demolition permit, a sediment and erosion control permit, or a site alteration/servicing permit.
Staff had also investigated the feasibility of having developers fund the cost of a Rodent Control Rebate Program through the collection of a security or a fee (e.g. through a development agreement), however, the town solicitor has advised that it would not be legally defensible to do so.
The Region of Durham is currently undergoing a Municipal Comprehensive Review (MCR), which they have called Envision Durham. This process has been ongoing for several years, and throughout the process the Region has been asking for feedback from the residential construction industry.
On July 2, 2021, the Region of Durham released their Region-Wide Growth Analysis Technical Report, as part of their Growth Management Study.
Feedback can be submitted to EnvisionDurham@durham.ca by August 3, 2021. You can also provide your comments to Stacey to have DRHBA submit feedback on your behalf.
More reports related to Envision Durham will be released throughout the summer and DRHBA will post those as they become available.
The Region of Durham approved its amended DC Bylaw at the June 23rd council meeting. The new rates will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The updated rates (including this year's annual indexing of 3.1%) are:
With this update, the Region of Durham is now in compliance with the changes to the Development Charge Act that came in under Bill 108: More Homes, More Choice.
There are some important updates that members should be aware of with respect to the COVID-19 Worker Income Protection Benefit Program (paid sick days). The full website can be found here with all relevant detail. New and important details are noted below.
WSIB Claim for Reimbursement Portal
Members can find the portal here for submitting a claim for reimbursement. A reminder that employers are entitled to be reimbursed the amount of infectious disease emergency leave pay that they paid to their employees, up to $200 per employee per day taken, with a maximum of 3 days per employee.
Check the status of your claim
Once you submit your claim you will receive a claim confirmation number. You can check your claim status with the WSIB for an up-to-date view on the progress of your claim.
Payments are scheduled to begin by the end of June and happen on a bi-weekly basis thereafter. It is expected that it will take approximately two weeks to process an approved claim. The timing of payment depends on the completeness and complexity of the claim.
Paid leave under existing contract
Employees who have rights to paid leave under their employment contract (which includes a collective agreement) may not be eligible for paid infectious disease emergency leave or may be entitled to fewer than three days of paid infectious disease emergency leave under the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).
For an employee’s three-days of ESA paid leave to be reduced, all four of the following criteria must be met.
On April 19, 2021:
Where all four of these criteria are met, the employee’s three-day entitlement to paid infectious disease emergency leave under the ESA is reduced by the number of days available under their employment contract that meet the four criteria.
Employee opt-out of paid leave
Receiving paid infectious disease emergency leave may affect an employee’s eligibility for, or amount of, benefits under other programs. To avoid this outcome, employees may choose not to receive the infectious disease emergency leave pay they are entitled to. To do this, employees must advise their employer in writing of their decision to take the time as unpaid infectious disease emergency leave.
This written notice of their decision must be made before the end of the pay period in which the leave occurs.
Proof of entitlement to leave
Employers may require evidence reasonable in the circumstances at a time that is reasonable in the circumstances that the employee is entitled to the leave. What is considered reasonable in the circumstances will depend on all of the facts of the situation. However, employers cannot require an employee to provide a certificate from a doctor or nurse as evidence.
If it is reasonable in the circumstances, evidence may take many forms, such as:
Unpaid infectious disease emergency leave taken between April 19, 2021 and April 28, 2021
Although the ESA was amended on April 29, 2021, the entitlement to paid infectious disease emergency leave is deemed to have started on April 19, 2021. Eligible employees who took an unpaid infectious disease emergency leave between April 19, 2021 and April 28, 2021, for a reason for which they can take paid leave, can choose to take those days as paid leave instead. To make this decision, employees must have advised their employer in writing no later than May 12, 2021.
For specific-claim related inquiries once you have a claim confirmation number or technical issues with submitting a claim, please request support and a claims specialist will reach out to you.
For more general information on eligibility criteria, how to apply and program rules, please call the Ontario COVID-19covid 19 Worker Income Protection Benefit Information Centre 1-888-999-2248 ( TTY: 1-866-567-8893).
At the Monday, June 7th Planning and Development Committee meeting in Clarington, Mayor Adrian Foster put forward a motion, seconded by Councillor Zwart:
"That staff investigate and report back on the potential for implementation of 'Whitby Green Standard' within Clarington's existing green initiatives including options for more environmentally friendly roofing options."
Mayor Foster opened the discussion by saying that the motion was self-evident.
"I understand that..a lot of the work has already been done on this and it gives us an opportunity to make some potentially tangible steps forward," he said. "Certainly we heard from the group of students earlier and Toronto has done some work as well."
Councillor Neal followed with his comments.
"I've raised this a number of times about Clarington trying to get developers to stop using asphalt shingles, which are 100% guaranteed to go in a landfill somewhere and I seem to always get met by silence and I'm not sure why," said Neal. "I know Whitby is greatest place in the world but they have the same issue going on and every house that's being built has asphalt shingles and they are all going in the landfill, and so I'd like to hear something concrete about what we can do about that as a municipality, because I think we could probably do better as it gets right down to it. Just my thoughts. I'd like to hear something other than silence on that, that's all I'm saying."
Councillor Hooper weighed in with his thoughts.
"When I did a little bit of research on this, the Whitby Green Standards, it says at the bottom of the page, several already have green standards in place and we, meaning the municipality of Clarington, is already included, along with Toronto, Richmond Hill, Brampton, Vaughn, Mississauga, Halton Hills and Pickering," said Hooper. "Can staff please provide our committee with what our green development standards are? And are our developers aware of what they are at the present time?"
Faye Langmaid, manager of special projects, planning and development for Clarington, said "we do have green development standards that were done as part of Priority Green and we can send you the links on them and I believe that the report that the Mayor and Councillor Zwart are asking for here will fully cover what those green standards are. As part of the secondary plans we were dealing with at the most recent meeting, some of those development standards were actually being implemented in the policy aspect so we could implement them as developers came in with them."
Mayor Foster closed the discussion by stating that the motion was designed to look at the Whitby Green Standards within Clarington's existing green initiatives.
"So the theory is to see what's being done and what we might be able to easily pick up and integrate with what we are already doing," said Foster.
The motion was carried unanimously.
DRHBA has reached out to staff to start a discussion on this matter and ensure that the voice and concerns of the building industry are heard.
DRHBA maintains that municipalities cannot mandate above the Ontario Building Code, and acquired a legal opinion on the Whitby Green Standards that supports this position.
Anyone with concerns is encouraged to contact Stacey.
The Ontario Home Builders' Association (OHBA) and EnerQuality are working together to deliver job-ready, unskilled labourers to qualified OHBA members in the GTA, including Durham Region.
Through this program, OHBA and EnerQuality will manage all aspects of employee recruitment, screening, interviewing and onboarding. They will also provide ongoing weekly program support to participating employers and to employees to ensure success for all parties involved.
Please click here for more information.
The Region of Durham has completed their Schedule B Municipal Class Environmental Assessment for Water Street Sanitary Sewage Pumping Station Capacity Expansion in Port Perry in the Township of Scugog.
The Project File Report will be posted until July 15, 2021 at durham.ca/WaterStreetSSPS.
The Notice of Completion can be viewed here
The Region of Durham's Planning & Economic Development Committee will be reviewing report 2021-P-17 (Planning Application Processing Fees and Charges) on Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at 9:30 a.m.
The report's next stop will be at Regional Council, and if passed, the new fees will come into effect on July 1, 2021.
The new fees are as follows:
Area Municipal Official Plan Amendment (AMOPA)
Exempt Review Fee $3,500
Non-exempt Review Fee $5,000
Plan of Subdivision and Condominium
Delegated Municipalities (Ajax, Clarington, Oshawa, Pickering, Whitby)
Subdivision Review Fee $5,000
Subdivision Review Fee – additional phases $3,000
Condominium Conversion Review Fee $2,000
Phased Condominium Review Fee $2,000
Vacant Lot Condominium Review Fee $2,000
Non-delegated Municipalities (Brock, Scugog, Uxbridge)
Review Fee $6,000
Final Approval Fee $1,500
Major Revision $1,500
Review Fee – subdivision – additional phases $3,000
Consent (severance, lot line adjustment, etc.)
Application Fee $1,350
Stamping Fee $1,000
Minor Review Fee for applications made under the Aggregate Resources Act $1,000
Major Review Fee for applications made under the Aggregate Resources Act $5,000
Costs to administer Peer Review study (per peer review round) $500
Minor Minister’s Zoning Order Amendment application review $1,500
Major Minister’s Zoning Order Amendment application review $5,000
LPAT Appeal processing fee $500
Interested members can view the livestream of the meeting here.
The Region of Durham began development of a 20-year Long-term Waste Management Plan in 2020. Regional council approved guiding principles, a vision and five objectives for the new Waste Plan earlier this year and staff are now developing draft targets and actions to support meeting the objectives. This fall, staff will launch a public consultation that will include an online open house with a survey and virtual town hall for live questions and answers. Public consultation is expected to launch in mid-September and be completed in mid to late October.
Details of the approved guiding principles, vision and objectives along with background information on the work completed so far and the archived 2020 public consultation can be found on their website: www.durham.ca/WastePlan. Details and links to the 2021 public consultation efforts will also be posted on this page when available.
The Region of Durham welcomes the input from members of the Durham Region Home Builders' Association.
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Durham Region Home Builders' Association is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 1-1255 Terwillegar Avenue Oshawa, Ontario L1J 7A4