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Thunder Bay has applied to CMHC’s Housing Accelerator Fund

By CJ Goater Nov 17, 2023 | 4:53 PM

Mayor Ken Boshcoff and Director of Developmental Services Joel DePeuter - CJ Goater

Thunder Bay has hit its provincially assigned housing target for 2023.

The city has now applied to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Housing Accelerator fund for more funding.

“Capitalizing on this momentum, we have applied to the CMHC’s Housing Accelerator Fund for $46 million with a target of building 2,200 homes in 3 years,” said Joel DePeuter, Director of Development Services.

The province has assigned Thunder Bay a housing target of 2,200 homes by the year 2031, but with funding support, the city feels it can hit this target much earlier.

“We recognize that the target is aggressive, and we’ve shown that we are up to the challenge,” continued DePeuter. “We have a new Zoning By-law and Official Plan that makes it easier to build additional dwellings units, multi-residential units and other types of housing, and we are identifying city lands that could be used for housing development.”

Mayor Ken Boshcoff has issued an open letter to Federal Housing Minister Sean Fraser urging the approval of Thunder Bay’s $46 million application.

“We are all in on housing development and the city team is working hard to set the stage for development success. Our focus is the same as the Federal government,” said Mayor Boshcoff. “We want to build as many homes as possible, as quickly as we can.”

The Housing Accelerator Fund asks for action plans from local governments and provides upfront funding to ensure the timely building of new homes, as well as additional funds upon delivering results.

Local governments are encouraged to be innovative and aggressive in their approaches to accelerating project timelines, allowing increased housing density, and encouraging affordable housing units.

Thunder Bay’s Housing Accelerator Fund application proposed eight initiatives:

  •  Multi-unit & Affordable Housing Incentive
  • Encouraging Accessory Dwelling Units
  • Affordable Housing Navigator
  • Vacant Commercial Development Incentive
  • Core Areas “Community Improvement Plan” Greants for Residential Infill
  • Secondary Planning & infrastructure Planning in Support of Housing Strategy
  • Vacant Industrial Land Assessment & Conversion Program
  • Develop an Archaeological Management Plan

City Council emphasized housing within various objectives of the ‘Growth’ section of the City’s Strategic Plan, and a Mayor’s Task Force to accelerate housing is being created.