Holt lays out plans for housing as part of latest policy announcement

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Windsor mayoral candidate Chris Holt is pledging to build 10,000 homes in the city in the next five years with the ultimate goal of delivering up to 25,000 new units over ten years.

During a news conference Wednesday, Holt laid out a plan to work with private developers in expediting projects and building partnerships, with the goal of addressing the housing crisis.

Holt has three priorities to address the situation:

- Hire up to 12 staff members in the City’s planning and building department to address permit backlogs,

-Create a Community Planning Permitting System (CPPS) which would cut project timelines by months, getting shovels in the ground on projects that meet the criteria, 

- Review the City’s official plan to include as-of-right zoning parameters along major transit routes, rezoning or designating mixed commercial and residential developments along transit corridors, reduction or elimination of parking minimums, and specific as-of-right zoning categories.

Holt believes there's a difference between what we want and what we can do.

He says there needs to be the political will to actually make this a priority and move forward with it.

"I don't know if that's been stressed in the past. The new housing boom has been a fairly recent development, but I can tell you that during the 2022 budget deliberations where we had in there to 'hire more staff in the building department,' we didn't do it. So this is a crisis of our own making to a certain degree," he said.

Holt says the province has put forward their plan for growth, which called for 1.5 million new units built across the province, including 30,000 in this region.

He says his plan has been vetted by experts and well circulated among the developer community, with positive feedback on the viability of what's being proposed.

"I am not a genius of any degree, but I see the need and I hear the need," he said. "I hear people like our kids and our young people that are graduating from university, and they need to be able to afford a home whether it's renting or buying to stay in the community. To add to our economic development in the community and to add to our culture in the community."

Holt says if this isn't addressed and the next mayor and council don't move strongly on the file, it won't happen.

He pointed out that the affordable housing wait list is over 6,000 underhoused residents, but that the City of Windsor only adds between 700 and 800 new units every year.

"Unless we take this seriously in city hall, and we need to set that example. We need to actually invest in the growth of our community. This is costing us economic development, this is costing us residents paying into the tax base and actively being in the society," Holt stated.

Holt is running for mayor against Drew Dilkens, Benjamin Danyluk, Ernie Lamont, Matthew Giancola, Aaron Day and Louis Vaupotic.