Amendment 37.2, a bold proposal within the framework of Bill 31 on housing, aims to stimulate the construction of housing in response to the housing crisis. According to this amendment, cities with over 10,000 inhabitants and a vacancy rate below 3% will be able to approve projects of three or more units, deviating from their existing urban planning regulations. This exceptional measure, planned for a duration of five years, is an attempt by the Minister of Housing, France-Élaine Duranceau, to accelerate the development of new housing.
However, this proposal has sparked heated debates. Deputy Virginie Dufour and other politicians are concerned about the implications of this deregulation. They fear unplanned and rapid urban densification, an increase in land prices, and a possible marginalization of non-profit housing projects. Additionally, Deputy Dufour raises concerns about local democracy, fearing that citizens may lose their right to challenge zoning changes through referendums.
The Ordre des urbanistes du Québec also expresses reservations, emphasizing the importance of thoughtful and regulated densification. Despite these concerns, Minister Duranceau defends the amendment as a necessary response to the housing crisis, while noting that its use by municipalities is not mandatory.
The mayors’ associations seem to welcome this measure, considering it as a temporary solution before a more comprehensive reform. However, voices are raised for a broader consultation and collective reflection on public participation in the urban planning process.
In conclusion, Amendment 37.2 represents a bold attempt to address the housing crisis, but it raises important questions about urban planning, local democracy, and equity in real estate development. The parliamentary discussion on this subject is eagerly anticipated, reflecting the complexity and urgency of the housing situation in Quebec.