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Federal officials announce nearly $9.2 million for the City of Saint John through the Housing Accelerator Fund on Jan. 17, 2024. From left: Saint John-Rothesay MP Wayne Long, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Saint John Mayor Donna Reardon. Image: Brad Perry

$9.2M to expand housing in Saint John

By Brad Perry Jan 17, 2024 | 1:18 PM

The City of Saint John will get nearly $9.2 million through the federal government’s Housing Accelerator Fund.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement Wednesday while touring The Wellington, a mixed-income apartment complex in uptown Saint John.

“This is really about all of us coming together to respond to the challenges that communities and individuals are facing right across the country,” Trudeau said during the announcement.

“We’ve worked very, very hard with the City of Saint John to come to an ambitious proposal that’s going to increase densification, that’s going to accelerate the processes in terms of building more housing more quickly.”

The agreement, which is the 22nd under the Housing Accelerator Fund, will help create 285 new homes over the next three years.

Officials said this work will help spur the construction of more than 1,700 homes over the next decade.

“It’s a pivotal moment for Saint John as we collaborate with the federal government on the Housing Accelerator Fund,” said Mayor Donna Reardon.

“This partnership is more than just a financial commitment. It’s a promise to our residents. As a city, we’re dedicated to accelerating the development of affordable housing, ensuring every member of our community has a place to call home.”

Saint John will reform its zoning bylaw to allow for more density in key areas of the city, with up to four units per residential lot.

The city will also work on incentives to help boost construction, particularly affordable units, use public and underutilized lands for housing developments, and accelerate approval timelines for missing-middle units.

“It brings transformational, and most importantly systemic change, at the municipal level that will continue to move us forward in creating a community that is conducive to housing and focuses on addressing the housing challenges faced both here in Saint John and throughout Canada,” said the mayor.

The city had applied for around $15 million through the fund to help build more than 1,200 new units over three years.

Trudeau said several factors go into determining how much each municipality will receive through the fund.

“We put forward $4 billion a couple of years ago for the express purpose of making sure that cities were able to meet their own ambitions for growth, for opportunities for their citizens,” said the prime minister.

“There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of partnership going into looking at what could actually be done, what is the right level of it.

“We came down with an agreement of around $9.18 million for the Housing Accelerator Fund which we feel is the right level to really enable Saint John to accelerate, to get more homes built faster, to get people into those homes in an affordable way.”