January 18, 2012
Get ready for Toronto city council’s next big fight.
The controversial sale of 675 Toronto Community Housing Corporation homes goes to Mayor Rob Ford’s executive committee next week. One member of council’s political middle is already predicting a majority of councillors won’t support it.
According to the staff report, selling the properties would generate over $222 million which TCHC would put into its state-of-good repair backlog.
Back in October, the TCHC board approved the sale of the buildings, which are mostly costly-to-maintain single-family homes, in an effort to raise funds to fix the corporation’s aging housing stock. But city council, and the province, must sign-off on the sale before TCHC can move forward.
Councillor Josh Matlow said Wednesday selling off all the homes isn’t something he or, he believes, a majority of councillors can support.
“A giant fire sale is frankly irresponsible,” Matlow told the Sun.
“We’re not interested in giant selloffs without understanding what’s in store for the current occupants – we don’t want to do things hastily and without a lot of insight into what the impacts might be.”
But Matlow said councillors may be open to selling a few houses.
“I think there would be a number of councillors who would be open to considering selling specific units if it meant that those funds would go towards the repair of units that are in need,” he said.
Councillor David Shiner, a member of the executive, said TCHC has clearly said “it is inefficient and a poor use of money to continue to own these individual houses.”
“They can replace those units with family units or actually have the money to fix up other properties which are in dearly need of repair,” he said.
Shiner said he’s “a supporter of helping the majority over a minority.”
“It is unfortunate that some people may have to be relocated but many of the people that have been in these homes for a long time no longer have the need that they had when they first came in there,” he said.
Councillor Adam Vaughan questioned the rush to sell the homes.
“I hope that we stop the sort of one-size fits all off the shelf quick solution that the Fords tend to move towards and that radical conservatives have bought into by selling off assets to fix assets,” Vaughan said. “We don’t sell streetcars to buy buses; you don’t need to sell houses to fix apartments.”
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