‘Broken trust’: MPP Rudy Cuzzetto claims swanky Lakeview Village will include affordable housing; constituents question his leadership

‘Broken trust’: MPP Rudy Cuzzetto claims swanky Lakeview Village will include affordable housing; constituents question his leadership

“Where was our leader who represents the community? Where was he when all of this was being discussed?”

These are the questions residents in the Mississauga-Lakeshore community are asking of their provincially elected representative at Queen’s Park.

Many residents feel frustrated and betrayed by their local representative after his lack of advocacy — only a single letter — following a snap provincial decision that unwound nearly two decades of planning by community members, the City and developers. 

Residents’ associations have been demanding accountability from Mississauga—Lakeshore PC MPP Rudy Cuzzetto since the unexpected decision by the PCs to double the size of Lakeview Village from approximately 8,000 units to 16,000. This is more than three times the 5,200 units local advocates had proposed in a detailed community-driven plan called Inspiration Lakeview. The dramatic shift, far beyond what area residents had fought for to control the future growth of the waterfront area, was triggered by a Minister’s Zoning Order requested by Lakeview Community Partners, the development consortium (which includes heavy-hitters such as Silvio and Carlo De Gasperis, Carlo Baldassarra and Gord Buck, all known for donating money to Doug Ford and the PCs) behind the massive sprawling project to transform the former Lakeview Powerplant lands into one of North America’s largest waterfront communities.

The PC government obliged and issued the MZO, overriding what was supposed to be a regular planning process controlled by City Hall, which for more than a decade had worked with community members to shape what developers could, and could not do on the 177-acre site of the future Lakeview Village. 

What had been a carefully managed decade-long, community-led revitalization plan for the former brownfield industrial site, to give the majestic lakefront back to the people, has suddenly left many of the local residents who spent years working on a human-scale project outraged and in a state of disbelief.

“Everyone was so emotional about it, everyone was so upset about it,” Mary Simpson, president of the Town of Port Credit Residents’ Association, told The Pointer. “The big thing is how could he not have advocated for us? How could he not have at least stepped up and said this is an act of bad faith? It's almost just a betrayal.”

In response to residents’ concerns about his lack of advocacy while failing to publicly denounce the MZO issued by his government, Cuzzetto told The Pointer in an email that “acting in the best interest of the people isn’t always popular, but, without enough homes for people to live in, the crisis of affordability will extend far beyond the borders of the GTA,” adding “if we are to meet the challenges of the epically growing human population of the GTA and provide truly livable and affordable communities, then we must allow for housing and new communities to be created where it makes sense to do so — where there is existing services and infrastructure, adjacent to existing development.”

A criticism of Ford and his PC colleagues has been their failure to show how their hyper-ambitious plan, under Bill 23, to build 1.5 million new homes across the province by 2031 will actually help the affordability crisis. The legislation lacks policy direction to ensure the construction of affordable housing, and developers have shown no interest in doing so, with a recent Peel Region report revealing that less than 1 in 2,600 recently constructed homes met the criteria for being affordable. 

The Lakeview Village developers have failed to provide information that shows a significant number of the 16,000 units will be affordable, while critics have predicted builders will look for significant profits from the luxurious waterfront properties featured in renderings of the soon-to-be constructed community.

What has been put forward by the powerful development consortium falls far short of any plan to incorporate affordability into Lakeview Village’s future. In 2021 Peel Region reported that, according to figures from the developers, only 140 to 230 units will be affordable, or no more than 1.4 percent of the 16,000 planned for the site, unless the number of affordable units will also be doubled.

The Region of Peel has used research by local organizations that shows current real estate prices are too expensive for 80 percent of residents, based on their income.  

Despite claiming housing affordability is his key reason for supporting the MZO, Cuzzetto has not provided any detailed information or assurances to show Lakeview Village will help Mississauga address its ongoing affordable housing crisis. One of the largest areas of currently undeveloped space in the city, could leave those in need of reasonably priced housing behind, while investors, speculators and wealthy residents flock to the Lake Ontario shoreline.

Tridel, which is building its “Luxury living on the Lake” Harbourwalk property as part of Lakeview Village, is currently offering an 879 square-foot unit for $1.25 million and a 1,263 square-foot unit for $1.775 million, for tentative occupancy by the summer of 2028.


Area MPP Rudy Cuzzetto claims Lakeview Village will help add affordable housing to Mississauga’s real estate mix, but developers are building properties far out of reach for 80 percent of residents who can’t afford current prices.



Meanwhile, Cuzzetto, Ford and their PC colleagues have failed to explain who will pay the hundreds of billions needed to build the infrastructure required to support the 1.5 million new homes mandated under Bill 23 (Peel Region has estimated $20.4 billion will be needed for infrastructure to service the roughly 250,000 new units targeted for Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon under the PC plan).

The legislation forced through by Ford and his majority government dramatically reduces the amount of money developers have to pay for this infrastructure through DCs (Development Charges) while the same builders are now exempted from paying DCs for any affordable units.

Lakeview residents have asked who will pay for transit, schools, more hospital beds, new roads, community centres, libraries, utilities, waste collection, policing, fire services and paramedics to service what is effectively a new small city being built to house close to 30,000 residents in their community. 

The MZO to double the number of units (a huge bonus to the developers who will get to profit twice-over by selling double the number of properties) was issued in May with zero feedback from City officials and residents, and disregarded years of planning that went into the historic redevelopment project. The PC government argued the MZO approval was necessary to achieve Mississauga’s intensified housing targets mandated under Bill 23 — a claim the City refutes, arguing that current development numbers will already exceed provincial targets. 

Saying they were “blindsided,” residents are now questioning whether Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark has considered the serious implications before arbitrarily doubling the unit count and future population.


Local residents Mary Simpson (left) and Deb Goss are feeling betrayed by the lack of advocacy from their local representative.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)


The development, coined as “Lakeview Village,” was the culmination of nearly two decades of planning by the City of Mississauga and residents to redevelop the property on the city’s eastern waterfront. The decision from the PC government to issue the MZO squashed 17 years of meetings, volunteer hours and planning from the Lakeview Ratepayers’ Association in collaboration with the City and developers to establish the Lakeview Legacy Project, a resident generated visionary concept for revitalizing the area. 

The redevelopment of the city’s waterfront was the obsession of late coastal restoration proponent and local councillor Jim Tovey, who introduced a vision to create a more accessible waterfront on the dormant site, previously home to a coal-fired power plant nicknamed the “Four Sisters”. It was an aspiration that would see the former industrial property transformed into one of the world’s most environmentally sustainable communities that would reconnect residents of Mississauga to Lake Ontario.


The old Lakeview Power Plant and its industrial buildings to the north and west of it cut off the waterfront; area residents, many who have lived there for decades, hoped Lakeview Village would be shaped by the community, not developers.

(City of Mississauga) 


“This was definitely a Jim Tovey project right from before he became councillor. That was one of the last things that he was working on when he passed away and I think that is something that is close to people's hearts. People were believers in this project,”  Deborah Goss, former president of the Lakeview Ratepayer’s Association, told The Pointer. 

“They believed in what they were doing through and through because they attended time and time again the community consultations over so many years, that I think people have taken it very personally and will continue to take it personally, that somebody has really messed up somewhere and I don't think people will stop asking why.”

On the morning of May 12, the day the MZO was issued, Goss met with Cuzzetto at his office to discuss her concerns regarding what prompted this change, as well as the justifications for the grand number of 16,000 units, which actually triple the original community projection for what the lands could accommodate, at 5,200, which later became 8,000 units after the plan was finalized by City Council. 

Goss said while she thought Cuzzetto was aware of these concerns, she wanted to make sure the Minister understood the ramifications of this significant change to what had been slated for the development and whether the lack of infrastructure to accommodate doubling the development’s size had been taken into consideration.  

“I felt that [Cuzzetto] was listening… and that at least maybe we would get some questions answered. So to be hit at the end of five o'clock with this announcement, I was really shocked,” Goss said. “It was definitely a snub to the community.

“How can that happen? To one of the biggest developments, with jobs, with schools involved, with waterfront involved, working with the environment. Why did it get treated in this manner? And where was our leader who represents the community?”

As the representative of the Lakeshore community, Goss said Cuzzetto needs to be taking residents’ concerns to the Minister and advocating on behalf of the community to ask the tough  questions troubling residents and that are top of mind for his constituents. 

“Whether he likes it or not he does represent [the community]. That's how he's voted in. It's not about party politics. It's about representing your community. Where was he when all of this was being discussed?”

“We needed leadership. We needed an advocate. And we didn't get that,” Simpson added.

Through years of lobbying and fighting diligently to promote healthy development and strategic growth, the Association created a Lakeview Master Plan that envisioned new businesses, retail stores and waterfront public spaces together with mid-rise and mixed-use residential development. An agreement between residents, the City and the development consortium that included approximately 8,000 units and space for close to 17,000 new residents was met following dozens of hours of consultation with residents and Indigenous groups, public meetings, staff reports, studies and assessments.

“There is absolutely no acknowledgment of the 17 years of community engagement and planning that went into this project that has been wiped aside, as if it meant nothing. As if the affront to the community means nothing,” Trevor Baker, current president of the Lakeview Ratepayer’s Association, wrote in a statement to The Pointer.


The Lakeview Village development is a revitalization project nearly two decades in the making through bottom-up planning by area residents.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer)


With the MZO now having pulled years of planning out from beneath them, Goss said people are asking “why did I bother” and questioning the point of attending another community meeting, feeling that no one cares what they have to say and that “it's pointless.”

“This is why people don't turn up at the polls, because it's the same situation. They don't feel that they're heard. They don't feel their voice counts. They don't feel that their vote means anything, that they feel that the next person is just going to be the same,” she explained. “It saddens me to think that people just feel so useless, that it's not even worth placing their vote anymore.

“There's a huge lack of trust now that anything they do, anything they're part of has any impact on anything, but that everything blindly goes ahead. There’s nothing from our elected official. This is nothing personal back to his constituents to discuss this or to give any rationale to it. 

In a letter to the Lakeview Ratepayers Association, dated June 20 from Cuzzetto — his only correspondence to residents — the Mississauga—Lakeshore MPP justified the MZO decision by stressing the province has a severe housing supply crisis that is “disproportionately impacting” the population, “many of whom are unable to access appropriate housing in our community at a price they can afford. He also previously discredited the years of bottom-up planning from the community that went into the legacy project in May in his address to elected officials in the House of Commons. 

“When the minister granted an MZO earlier this month for more housing in Lakeview Village, some at the city were outraged. But 13 years of planning work by two layers of bureaucrats at the city and the region without a single shovel in the ground while housing costs in Mississauga increased by 200 percent is not something to be proud of,” Cuzzetto said in the House of Commons on May 29. 

“It shouldn’t take 15 years to get approvals for new homes, especially in a housing supply crisis.”

Through the province’s mandate to expedite 1.5 million homes over the next decade, the City of Mississauga has been signed on to build 120,000 homes by 2031, “yet between 2012 and 2021, only 15,729 homes were completed in Mississauga,” Cuzzetto wrote in his address to residents. As a result of this lack of housing, he noted Mississauga was the only major city in Canada to decrease in population during the last census. The city’s population dropped from just over 721,500 residents in 2016 to roughly 718,000 in 2021, marking a 0.5 percent population decrease. 

He noted that in order to fulfill Mississauga’s mandate to 120,000 homes by 2031 — which works out to 1,000 homes per month — construction in Mississauga “would need to increase by 663 percent,” he explained, adding that “15 months into this new decade, Mississauga only saw 4,641 housing starts — approximately 30 percent of the minimum 15,000 required. 

“Young families, seniors, new Canadians, and hardworking Ontarians from all backgrounds cannot afford more endless delays while housing costs in Mississauga increase by another 200 percent. That's why our government will continue to use every available tool to help get shovels in the ground to build the new homes that Ontario families need and deserve. The MZO is one of these tools.”

But Mississauga City staff have warned the increase to 16,000 units represents unmanageable growth planning to accommodate densities that simply cannot be supported by municipal and provincial infrastructure. The City of Mississauga and Region of Peel, which is expected to cease to exist by 2025, are also being left to balance locally-funded infrastructure, with the lack of development fees they can charge to pay for all these needed features, as a result of new legislation passed by the PCs. It remains unclear how the province will pay for additional services like schools and transit required to accommodate incoming residents. 

Despite this, Cuzzetto said the MZO will deliver substantial community benefits and infrastructure upgrades including at least 1,600 new affordable and attainable homes, improved and expanded roads and other mobility infrastructure to ensure efficient flow of people and traffic, a new wastewater treatment plant to support sustainable growth, new transit infrastructure and services, including a new GO Transit station on the Lakeshore West line, new schools and childcare spaces, and new and improved community spaces and environmental projects, all of which he claims will be paid for by developers themselves, not the province. 


MPP Rudy Cuzzetto is facing questions from residents who feel betrayed over his lack of communication and transparency on the major changes to the Lakeview Village development. 

(Government of Ontario)


He did not explain where the figure of 1,600 affordable homes is from; it does not match the numbers reported in 2021 by the Region of Peel. Cuzzetto did not provide funding details to support the local infrastructure he said will be built.

“I can assure you that these impressive public benefits were key considerations in our recent decision and Minister Clark and I will continue to work in partnership with the community, the proponents, and the City to deliver them as quickly as possible,” he said. 


It remains unclear how the City of Mississauga will fund the local infrastructure needed to accommodate the surge in residents now coming down to Lakeview Village.

(Alexis Wright/The Pointer) 


While residents voice unease over absent representation, the PC government has also failed to provide any details about the planning process to double the size of the Lakeview Village development along Mississauga’s eastern shoreline, including when and how a “land facilitator” will help guide the process. The land facilitator is expected to work with Mississauga to ensure the infrastructure in the area can be upgraded to handle the dramatically increased density. 

“It’s important to remember that this MZO only kicks-starts the approvals process by ensuring red tape is not getting in the way of building this much needed housing. The development will continue to be subject to the municipal plan of subdivision and plan of condominium approvals,” a spokesperson from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing told The Pointer. “It is our expectation that the proponent and municipality will work together to identify the need for school, child care centres and other community benefits to support the community.” 

Statements by Cuzzetto have done little to ease the minds of residents, who dispute the claims the MZO decision was made to trigger more affordable housing.  

“People are already so upset about it. They feel that after having a great plan and putting it forward and going through all the amount of volunteer hours that they did, and the community consultation to bring this forward to actually fight for it at City Hall, to then have it misused in this way… it’s very disturbing,” Goss said.

“Even if you didn't have the opportunity or the ability to reroute where this was going, I think that as a leader, as an elected official, I would have expected him to reach out to each of the Residents’ Association and say ‘let's talk, let’s all get together,’” Simpson added. 

“I think there's a broken trust.”



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