Brand New Rental Apartment Coming to Mississauga

If there's one thing Mississauga needs, it's more purpose-built rental housing that will remain available to tenants—and tenants only—in perpetuity.

Fortunately for residents searching for rental units, a brand new apartment building (not a condo development) is moving forward in Mississauga—despite some initial pushback from other residents who were concerned about potential parking issues.

At a Nov. 28 council meeting, Mississauga city councillors discussed a petition put forward in September regarding the construction of a 17-storey rental apartment at 2215 Sheridan Park Drive.

The project, proposed by Starlight Developments, prompted 127 residents to sign a petition calling upon the mayor and city council to refrain from approving the project.

The main bone of contention?

Proposed parking spaces.

"We are writing to inform you that a site application has been submitted to the City of Mississauga to approve a 17- storey rental apartment building at 2215 Sheridan Park Drive. There is also a proposal to construct 700+ parking spaces to accommodate the rental apartments," the petition read.

"This will create a significant increase in traffic and noise within our established family community, and potentially decrease our property values. We are asking for your support in condemning this proiect in its entirety to help maintain the quiet family neighbourhood we live in."

At the meeting, Councillor Karen Ras addressed the petition and said that the parking concerns have since been resolved and that the new build will benefit the city by adding more rental stock to a municipality that's most certainly in need of it.

"This matter related to the parking spaces. It required a variance and it went through Committee of Adjustment and it was approved," said Ras.

"We did have a community meeting and we worked through some of the parking issues. It was related to on-street parking. As a result, they removed the paid visitor parking on their sites and they're increasing traffic flow within the site. They've had permits for a 17-storey building for at least 20 years, it's a good infill development in the city close to arterials."

Ras is correct that Mississauga could use more purpose-built rental units.

In Mississauga, units are becoming prohibitively expensive (one bedroom units often start at about $1,200 a month) due to lack of inventory—a problem that's common in Ontario overall.

According to a recently released Vital Signs 2018 report, Mississauga's rental inventory rate sits at a concerningly low 1.4 per cent (down from 2.7 per cent 10 years ago). The situation in the province is equally as concerning, as vacancy rates sit at 1.6 per cent--the province's lowest level in 17 years.

According to the province, Ontario has Canada's second-highest average rental costs, just behind British Columbia.

Ras also pointed out that the new building serves an important need in the community and is in line with the Affordable Housing strategy.

For those who are unaware, Mississauga has been working to make housing more affordable for middle class residents (the group most at risk of being squeezed out of the city due to the high cost of real estate and their inability to qualify for subsidized housing) with its ambitious—and necessary—Making Room for the Middle Plan.

Part of the plan, which also includes incentivizing developers to include some amount of affordable units in new developments—also boasts bylaws designed to protect renters and the city's existing rental stock.

The new Starlight development, once constructed, will allow hundreds of tenants the opportunity to live in a busy—and well-connected—part of the city.

For that reason, it's encouraging to hear that it's moving forward—and that most concerns surrounding it have been assuaged.

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