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Former mayor John Tory confers with Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie in the council chamber during the budget meeting, on Feb. 15.Chris Young

Toronto Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie wants city council to move forward in the coming months on a housing strategy advanced by John Tory before his resignation, ahead of the summer when a new mayor is set to take the helm.

Ms. McKelvie, a second-term councillor representing an area of Scarborough, has been filling in for many of the mayor’s duties after Mr. Tory stepped down last Friday, a week after he admitted to an affair with an employee.

The city clerk announced this week that the by-election will be held on June 26, setting off a race that is expected to be a crowded field with several high-profile candidates, both within and outside of council, considering a run.

Ms. McKelvie said in an interview that the next four months should be “business as usual” for council and that major decisions shouldn’t be paused until the vacant mayor’s seat is filled. This includes furthering the city’s plan to increase its housing supply, which was brought forward by Mr. Tory last fall and approved with the overwhelming support of council in December.

The new strategy, part of efforts to build 285,000 homes over the next 10 years, includes proposals to expand housing options by allowing multiplex apartments to be built in every area of the city, increasing density on main streets and broadening areas where mid-rise buildings are permitted.

City officials are due to report back next month with more details on the plan, including next steps, timelines and the specific number of units it is expected to generate. It isn’t clear if any decision points or proposed bylaws will be before council at this time, but Ms. McKelvie said she’s confident they can move forward before a new mayor is in place to ensure work can continue.

Even though the main components of the plan were introduced by Mr. Tory and served as a key pillar of his third re-election campaign, the deputy mayor said it has received backing from the majority of council and that delays would hamper the city’s ability to meet its targets that were set by the provincial government.

Ms. McKelvie also pointed to the overwhelming support of the plan that would likely trump any use of strong mayor powers should the new head of council have a different vision. One such power granted by Premier Doug Ford’s government to the mayors of Toronto and Ottawa – at the request of Mr. Tory – allows them to bring forward and pass bylaws with only one-third of council support.

“I think that there is significant consensus on council to keep moving forward. We have made a decision, I don’t think council wants to reopen any of those decisions,” Ms. McKelvie said.

Urban planner Sean Galbraith concurred that work should continue, but raised concern if the next mayor wants to pull back. He said the plan doesn’t go far enough to meet the city’s goals, and he hopes Mr. Tory’s successor will push for more regulatory changes to spur development, but that can come later without pressing pause now.

“Worst-case scenario is we elect a mayor who wants to move backward. So it’s not a matter of, ‘Do we put it on hold in case the next mayor wants to do more?’ The next mayor can do more, but we can’t waste time in case the next mayor wants to do less,” he told The Globe and Mail.

One of the more contentious components of the plan is the legalization of multi-unit housing, also known as rooming houses, across the city. The proposal was supported by council in December, but not before a successful amendment by Ms. McKelvie to slash the maximum number of dwellings to six in most areas of the city. The initial proposal would have allowed for some developments with up to 25 units in certain zones.

Potential candidates in the mayor’s race who currently serve on council have different views on the limits.

Councillor Josh Matlow opposed the amendment and gave a simple “yes” when asked if he would like to see the cap removed.

Meanwhile, Councillor Brad Bradford, who also chairs the housing and planning committee, supported the cap and said the city can’t afford to delay.

With a report from Oliver Moore