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Home construction in Thunder Bay April 2023 (Adam Riley/Acadia Broadcasting)

Bill 97 not a perfect fit for region

By Adam Riley Apr 26, 2023 | 10:57 PM

Legislation introduced by the province that will make it easier for municipal boundaries to expand for housing doesn’t seem like it would be beneficial for the northwest according to a city councillor in Thunder Bay.

Shelby Ch’ng says Bill 97 wouldn’t work for the city or many other communities in the region for that matter.

“We’re the size of Montreal and 1/5th the population our tax base simply cannot handle anymore expansion. I don’t see this as an opportunity to build more housing at all for us.”

Additionally she doesn’t put much stock in a plan that was devised in southern Ontario and is being shoe-horned into the northwest.

Specifically pointing to construction costs.

“I don’t see how we can build affordable housing. I think the Ontario government’s theory is that is there is just more housing it will drop the cost of housing. But to initially build those places, you cannot build an affordable place anymore.”

Ch’ng believes communities looking to build more housing need to focus on doing more infilling to maximize efficiency for infrastructure, as expansion would only put further strain the cost of maintaining assets like sewer and water lines, roads and other services provided by municipalities.


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