Friday, November 23, 2007

Progress update; research meeting

It's been a few weeks since our campaign launch, and we've been busy. We've met with one of the directors of the City's affordable housing office, we've begun to put together our proposal for a Use It or Lose It bylaw, and we're participating in a number of housing advocacy events (including a forum organized by Housing Action Now, taking place this morning at City Hall, which features an Abandonment Issues representative).

The next step is a big one--to support the campaign we need to do a lot of research. We need to expand our list of properties, find out more about them, look into local and international precedents for Use It or Lose It and other types of expropriation, and actually write a potential Use It or Lose It bylaw.

If any of this sounds interesting, please join us on Monday, December 3, at 6:00 PM, at Tequila Bookworm at 490 Queen St. W. for a research meeting. A tentative agenda is provided below. If this doesn't sound interesting, don't worry--we'll be announcing some other ways you can get involved in a little while.

If you have any questions or feedback, please don't hesitate to send an email to

In solidarity,
Abandonment Issues


Abandonment Issues
Research meeting agenda
Monday, December 3, 2007, 6-8 pm
Tequila Bookworm (490 Queen St. W)

Property research
  • Abandonment inventory
    • Abandonment status (vacant, under-occupied, etc.)
    • Property details (ownership, zoned use, assessment value, heritage status, etc.)
    • Property history
    • Future development plans
    • Is it a candidate for housing?
    • Would expropriation be required?
    • Photographs
Use It or Lose It research
  • Drafting a potential bylaw
    • A clause about the purpose of the bylaw
    • A definition of abandonment/vacancy
    • A specification about the length of time a property would be vacant for
    • The purpose for which expropriated property would be used
    • Whether it applied only to residential lands, or to commercial/industrial lands to be sold with proceeds going to develop other affordable housing
      • Does it allow City to expropriate in order to sell, or only in order to build?
    • A period in the bylaw for reprise
  • Use It or Lose It precedents
    • Islington bylaw
    • History of Use It or Lose It in Canada
    • Precedents for expropriation in Toronto
    • Other abandonment approaches
  • Other background
    • Relevant municipal, provincial, and federal policy frameworks
    • Housing and homelessness strategies in Toronto
    • Legal terrain of property rights in Toronto
    • The wait-list process for social housing