Ward 11 — Miranda Gray
Our Rating — Green
Miranda is clearly very committed to making housing affordable in Ottawa and in her ward. We especially appreciate her innovative ideas for improving community consultation.
Q1: Do you support reforms that would make our zoning policies more simple, permissive, with an explicit goal of fixing our housing shortage, creating 15 minute walkable neighbourhoods, and building missing middle housing city-wide?
Yes, I am committed to the zoning review process. (Some parts of the city have plans that have not been modified since the creation of their district in the late 1960s.) However, staff have indicated that the review and the challenges to the review is a long process that will take about 5 years to complete. It is not an instant fix.
I agree we need 15 min walkable communities city wide. Our toolkit needs to be broad enough to support the different types of gaps in communities building in various eras. It is easier to restore small businesses to a former village mainstreet than it is to create a new main street in a recently designed car centered suburb. Home businesses should be permitted in all single family homes by right and we must ensure that these businesses have a local business area to move to when they grow too large for the home.
Our housing shortage is addressed by densification / intensification through the city. The approach will vary by neighbourhood. I support 6+ storey buildings on main arterial roads, under 6 storey infill on most side streets and duplexes/quadplexes on many large infill lots.
Yes, we must improve the approval processes so developers / homeowners can afford the process for small projects. If it is only profitable to build skyscrapers, we will never have the middle housing we need.
Q2: Do you support a target of 100,000 new homes in Ottawa in the next 10 years? This is the number that leading housing economists agree we need to build in order to restore housing affordability in our city. Our current Official Plan target is just 75,000 — far short of where we need to be.
Yes, the target set by the last council is too low. I support raising the target substantially.
Q3: Do you agree we need to fix public consultations so that more voices are heard, and so they consider the benefits of projects to the people who will live in new homes — not just existing homeowners?
I think we need to change more than the consultation.We need to change the discussion.
We need standard definitions so we don’t start every consultation by explaining what “affordable housing” or “intensification” means. One way to help the discussion would be to create Open Ottawa walks that take people into walkable communities. It is easier to feel the difference than get it from a presentation or poster. Another way would be to create a Ottawa Stories podcast that includes people talking about their community. We need to hear the stories of people who have lived in the same apartment for decades as much as we need from people who have owned their house for decades.
For all our consultations, we need to collect some demographics (how do we know if consultations are inclusive if we never check to see who is present and who is absent). For the planning committee, we need to ask each presenter their type of housing and if they rent or own.
We also need to push people to think beyond the now. We need to ask people if they could find the same type of housing they had before their current home in their community? If they look to the future, is their next home available in their community? It is a big city but you should be able to find housing for all the stages of your life within your local neighbourhood wherever that neighbourhood is. Ottawa is a city of neighbourhoods.
Q4: Do you support ending mandatory parking minimums for new developments so that builders can decide if they want to build transit-friendly communities around transit stations?
No, zero is not the right minimum. It is somewhere less than 1 vehicle per unit. Additionally, the bike / stroller / cargo bike parking minimum isn’t zero either. The storage for bikes of a family of 5 in an apartment, may take as much room as a car spot. It isn’t about space. It is about how we use this space.
Q5: Do you support a win-win inclusionary zoning plan that asks developers to include affordable housing in their developments, in exchange for lower fees, faster approvals, or more density?
I would not describe it as a win-win or an exchange. Our community is a community because we encourage people to mix. This applies to housing. No monocultures. No vertical gated communities. For faster approvals, we need clear and firm guidelines. The win for the developers is the savings in moving through the process faster.
Q6: Will you ask the next Mayor and Council to invest in building deeply affordable housing in your ward and take a leadership role in reducing waitlists and repair backlogs for social housing across the city?
Yes, of course. One of the reasons I am running for Beacon Hill – Cyrville is because I think its housing stock will profoundly change in the next decade. We will have the towers, the rental properties which developers will want to rebuild to increase density, the older single family homes where infill brings intensification. I find the process of building a future Beacon Hill – Cyrville with more neighbours who love their home more exciting than trying to barricade the ward from change. I don’t think the work will be easy. I do think it is worthwhile.
Q7: Do you support ending exclusionary R1 zoning rules that keep renters, students, and working class families out of neighbourhoods in the name of “protecting neighbourhood character”?
Yes. The city changes overtime. We can protect the gems of the city without locking them in a vault away from others.