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Ford government gives Thunder Bay $870K for housing infrastructure

City can use the money for roads, sewer and water infrastructure to encourage more housing development
Ontario Premier Doug Ford (right) and Mayor Ken Boshcoff at Thunder Bay city hall on Thursday, April 4, 2024. (Leith Dunick,

THUNDER BAY — Hitting its provincially mandated housing target earned the City of Thunder Bay $870,890 from the province to put toward infrastructure that will allow even more housing to be constructed.

Premier Doug Ford was on hand on April 4 at city hall, presenting a cheque to Thunder Bay Mayor Ken Boschoff, the money drawn from the province’s three-year, $1.2-billion Building Faster Fund. Thunder Bay developers broke ground on 200 units in 2023.

“Thank you for hitting your targets — not only hitting your targets, but exceeding your targets. I think it was over 124, 125 per cent,” Ford said, meeting with the mayor, several councillors and municipal staffers.

“There’s 200 families now, because of your hard work, who are going to have a roof over their heads that they can call home.”

The Building Faster Fund provides funding to communities that hit at least 80 per cent of their provincially proscribed housing target, with an increased formula for those who exceed.

For comparison, Sudbury received $1.52 million, Georgina got $1.5 million and Ottawa received $37.5 million, according to releases issued by the province.

According to the government, Ontario hit 99 per cent of its target of 110,000 new homes built in 2023, a number that includes housing starts, additional residential units and new and upgraded long-term care beds.

A total of 18,992 rental units were started, the highest number on record, according to a government release.

Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Kevin Holland called it a win-win for the community.

“Housing is a critical issue for all of Ontario at this time and the provincial incentives are key to making sure our residents can access affordable housing,” Holland said.

Boshcoff said having an adequate housing supply is an important selling point for the city.

“It lets the investment community know, those who are building, developing and constructing the houses, as well as those thinking about moving here with the mining boom, that lots is happening here,” the mayor said.

Boshcoff said the money might not be millions of dollars, but every little bit helps.

“We will take it because it can only help our planning department, our infrastructure needs and as we address those fundamentals, each is a building step.”

In late February, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Thunder Bay to announce $20.7 million, over three years, to help build 600 affordable housing units, less than half the amount the $45 million city had requested.

— TBnewswatch