Anger erupts at meeting on province’s plan to double density of a Mississauga development


Published May 16, 2023 at 10:14 am

Angry, emotional residents and councillors came out for a three-hour planning meeting to discuss the province’s decision to nearly double the density of Lakeview Village.

The announcement came late Friday afternoon (May 12) that the provincial government had overridden Mississauga on the Lakeview Village waterfront development plan that has been 13 years in the making — nearly doubling the density from 8,050 units to 16,000.

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing approved a Minister’s Zoning Order (MZO), which means the City of Mississauga has little say on how the development will move forward.

“This application and the approval of the MZO is a punch to the gut to me,” said resident Trevor Baker at the special Planning and Development Committee meeting on Monday night (May 15).

The MZO overrides the work of professional planners and municipal authority, Baker added.

“I want to know, do they have an obligation to support the developers?” he said.

There has been some conversation on Twitter about who will benefit from this decision.

“The MZO benefits Lakeview Community Partners, which include TACC, owned by the powerful DeGasperis family, the biggest winner from recent Greenbelt removals,” wrote John Bowker, a policy researcher.

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The province’s decision also disregards the “thousands and thousands of hours, not paid hours, volunteer hours to make sure there was a great community here,” said Deborah Goss. “That’s been broken…the community deserves better than this.”

Many people were angry that the decision came so quickly and without warning.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie said she and council had no heads up from the province.

“Believe me, how surprised I was. Friday at 4:50 p.m. when I saw the news release drop into my mailbox,” Crombie said.

It was hoped that the special Planning and Development meeting on Monday would have given the community a chance to provide feedback before the province imposed the MZO, Crombie added.

“Sweeping actions like this take away the meaningful action that the city and residents like yourself can make in creating this community,” Crombie said.

The decision to nearly double the allowable units will have huge impact. It could bring up to 50,000 people to this area of the city.

“It’s a town — the size of Woodstock or Belleville,” said Crombie

The province is assigning a land facilitator to work with the city and the developers to negotiate some community benefits including 10 per cent affordable and attainable housing, she said.

The facilitator will also address the concerns around transit, schools, paramedic stations, fire stations and other infrastructure for the new community.

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But as Mississauga city council no longer has much say on the development, and Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko suggested community members contact MPP Mississauga—Lakeshore MPP Rudy Cuzzetto and the Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark.

Dasko said the MZO “detonated’” years of planning, which started with the late Jim Tovey.

The decision to increase density at Lakeview also seems to disregard other nearby development applications including the plan for Rangeview just north of Lakeview on Lakeshore Road.

Rangeview had been planned with Lakeview Village in mind, said Lindsay Dale-Harris, a partner with Bousfields.

“A particular concern is the lack of transportation capacity,” Dale-Harris said.

But the province has said the developments are near planned transit improvement projects including the Hazel McCallion LRT and the ongoing work to expand service on and electrify the Lakeshore West GO Transit line. However, there is no clear indication on when the GO Transit improvements will come. The LRT doesn’t extend to Lakeview.

Conservatives are praising the MZO and criticizing Mississauga’s concerns.

“Here’s Mississauga – actively standing against more housing,” wrote Conservative MP for Parry Sound Muskoka Scott Aitchison on Twitter. “This is what we are up against.”

But Crombie argued the city is on track to meet the housing goals set out by the province.

“We are not anti-development,” said Crombie. “We will not only reach but exceed our development goals.”

She doesn’t want mega-towers with single bedrooms as many developers push for.

“I want a city of character, I want a variety of housing forms that will accommodate everyone, families, newcomers, seniors, everyone,” Crombie said.

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