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Laval | Help from the City for social and affordable housing



Ville de Laval wants to create a “municipal land bank” that would be made available to organizations wishing to develop social and affordable housing. Nearly 2.5 million were released in 2023 to acquire land that will be dedicated to it. Next year, this sum will increase to 4.5 million.

“We are aiming to respond to a very specific problem: the difficulty for a non-profit housing organization to find land. It is often very difficult for them to get their hands on a lot. That’s the biggest obstacle,” argued Mayor Stéphane Boyer, in an interview with The Press.

More than a dozen plots have already been acquired to integrate from the start into this new program, which bears the name of “Policy for the provision of municipal buildings”. The initiative will first target community promoters, but also private ones.

In 2019, Ville de Laval set itself the goal of building 1,000 additional social and affordable housing units, to respond to the growing increase in the average rental price, as everywhere else. To date, approximately 500 of these units have been built, and 250 are under construction or financed.

Things are going well, but we really hope to be able to speed things up. We need to find ways to do more.

Stéphane Boyer, Mayor of Laval

Call for projects in sight

The City states that the number of lands included in the reserve “will be increased over time, which will strengthen the development potential of the municipal sites identified, in addition to offering new possibilities in sectors where the City does not yet have of properties suitable for this type of project”.

“This year, we have budgeted 2.5 million for acquisitions, then next year, it will increase to 4.5 million,” continues Mayor Boyer, recalling that his administration also created in its last budget a reserve of 7 million additional, starting this year, to “withdraw units from the speculative market in order to promote soft densification”.

A first call for projects will be launched this year, in the coming months. Essentially, the municipality will reveal the list of available lots, after which developers can present their project to the City.

Seeking to be “equitable”, the land allocation process will favor “the viability of the projects”, but above all their “long-term affordability”.

“For the municipality, acquiring land will not be so much of an issue, because we control land use planning and, above all, public finances in Laval are relatively healthy. In short, we have a greater capacity than an NPO to acquire land, and that’s what we want everyone to benefit from,” adds Stéphane Boyer.

The problem is elsewhere, says the opposition

In the ranks of the opposition, the interim leader of Action Laval, Achille Cifelli, welcomes the intention of the Boyer administration, but maintains that the issue lies elsewhere. “The problem is much more important. Promoters already want to develop, but their projects are blocked. There is a flagrant slowness in the processing of their files. The administrative heaviness is slowing down the start-up of several projects,” insists Mr. Cifelli.

He also condemns that since the adoption of the new Town Planning Code (CDU), “a large number of projects are encountering innumerable problems to the point where some promoters now want to abandon their projects in Laval”.

This CDU had been unveiled by the City in July. In particular, it provides for higher greening standards, fewer parking lots, the construction of no new service stations and businesses located closer to the streets, in order to “bring Laval into the 21e century “.

However, according to the opposition, the code was filed in “rush”, without study and without verification of the effects on the owners.

“There are limits to the ideologism in which an administration can engage, the Boyer administration demonstrates an extremist and stubborn vision”, affirms the party.

“We are starting to receive information that projects will simply have to be abandoned because of the new CDU”, illustrates the leader on the board of Action Laval, David De Cotis. “Bravo for this new policy, but we must not forget to also deal with the fundamental problem,” he concludes.

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