THUNDER BAY – Thunder Bay's city council approved an expansion of the city's homelessness strategy Monday, while learning the transformative new zoning bylaw it recently approved will face months of delays due to appeals.
Council also got a peek at results from the city's 2022 citizen satisfaction survey, indicating overall satisfaction with quality of life and city services remains generally high.
Council won't meet again until June 6.
City expands homelessness strategy
The City of Thunder Bay has expanded its approach to homelessness and poverty issues, launching a new $1 million capital fund intended to leverage provincial and federal dollars for transitional housing and other projects.
Mayor Bill Mauro cast a lone vote against creating the fund, arguing those projects “will come anyway” without municipal dollars.
New zoning bylaw faces five appeals
A major overhaul of the city’s zoning bylaw approved by council last month likely won’t be implemented for months, after the city received five appeals of the bylaw.
Most of those appeals are specific to one property, and none threaten major changes intended to promote urban infill, like allowing additional units and backyard homes, and reducing parking minimums.
The appeals will be heard by the Ontario Land Tribunal.
Citizen satisfaction survey results previewed
Council heard a preview of results from the city’s 2022 citizen satisfaction survey, which will be released in full later this week.
The phone survey is conducted by public opinion firm Ipsos and weighted to reflect the community’s gender and age demographics, will inform the city’s next strategic plan.
The results suggest overall satisfaction with the local quality of life remains high but has continued to decline since 2013. Satisfaction with city services, on the other hand, went up, with over 80 per cent of residents somewhat or very satisfied.
Crime remained the issue ranked as most important facing the city, followed by the economy and social issues like poverty and housing.
A document summarizing the results is available at the city’s Get Involved website. A full report will be published later this week.
Participation in the online version of the survey drew record participation of almost 2,800 people, staff reported.
Parkdale development approved
Council approved the creation of 17 new lots at the northern edge of the Parkdale subdivision, north of the Thunder Bay Airport.
The development, proposed by Syncor Contracting Ltd., will include two townhouses containing six homes and one townhouse containing five homes, over three blocks that already have full municipal services.
The city received no objections to the application.
Profit-sharing agreement for renewable generating station delayed
Council approved a further delay to a planned profit-sharing agreement that would distribute revenue from the renewable generating station at the Mapleward landfill, operated by Synergy North.
The plant has for years lagged expectations for how much electricity it would generate from methane collected from decaying garbage, requiring two $1 million injections over the years to stay solvent.
That means the city won’t realize shared revenue on the project until at least 2025, when it’s expected to have paid off a loan from Infrastructure Ontario.
However, Synergy North has defended the project, saying it still produces financial and environmental benefits.
Rezoning approved for school parking lot
A home next door to the Franco-Supérieur school will be converted into a parking lot, over objections from some neighbours.
A zoning bylaw amendment approved by council Monday will allow the Aurores Boréales school board to go ahead with its plan to demolish the home at the corner of Elgin and Court streets, adding 14 parking spaces.
Three surrounding property owners raised concerns the development could worsen stormwater flooding, produce noise from late-night snow clearing, and exacerbate on-street parking concerns.
City staff said the school board had submitted an adequate stormwater management plan, that noise is regulated under city bylaws, and that the lot should in fact alleviate on-street parking concerns.