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2024 budget given the final thumbs-up by council

The tax levy on the more than $537-million budget dropped to 5.47 per cent after growth and 5.91 per cent before growth.
Thunder Bay council pictured during a 2024 Operating and Capital Budget session on Tuesday, January 30, 2024

THUNDER BAY – Council officially ratified the 2024 operating and capital budget with a slight decrease in the municipal tax levy.

The tax levy on the more than $537-million budget dropped to 5.47 per cent after growth and 5.91 per cent before growth.

Council did vote in favour of a staff recommendation to adjust fees at both Chapples and Strathcona golf courses to the following:

  • 3.03 per cent increase for a golf season pass for adults (36 years to 59 years)
  • 1.72 per cent increase for a golf season pass for intermediate adults (23-35 years)
  • 5.26 per cent increase in the cost to play nine holes
  • 4.10 per cent increase in the cost to play 18 holes

Originally Red River Coun. Michael Zussino had recommended a 4.55 per cent increase to the cost of a season pass for adults as well as a 4.83 per cent increase for the cost of an intermediate adult season pass and also a 6.13 per cent increase in the cost of a daily green fee.

In his report back to council, Cory Halvorsen, manager of parks and open spaces, said he “is confident that anticipated course utilization rates for 2024 can achieve an additional $30,000 in revenue using these rates, should we experience typical weather throughout the operating season.”

The other change that council voted in favour of reversed a motion from At-large Coun. Rajni Agarwal to push all but $200,000 allocated for repairs to the Victoria Parkade to the 2025 budget.

Staff recommended putting the $1.2 million back in to:

  • Replace the waterproofing to half of the P1 level and the P1-P2 ramp, concrete and shear stud repairs in the same area as required
  • Repair and replacement of deteriorated drain piping, structural steel repainting, and exterior sealant replacement.

General manager Karen Lewis stressed the cost of basic demolition of the parkade would not align with the capital forecast for the next few years.

“There are complicated relationships between the parkade, McKellar mall, the reimagined Victoriaville project and other city-owned lands,” Lewis told council on Monday.

“Our consulting engineer did offer some very initial informal thoughts on the elements that might be included in a full demolition. He was not aware that full demolition was extremely complicated as the mall is directly below the parkade, and it includes renovated city facilities, long-term tenants. It was a critical element in the approved reimagined Victoriaville project.”

Lewis said staff recommended to “continue with scheduled repair work to Victoria Parkade as we track and report to council on the performance of the parkade through quarterly variance reports and a planned financial performance update in June of 2026.

"This will give council the information to assess the impact of revitalization, the value of the parkade into the future, and any additional studies that council may wish us to undertake.”

At-large Coun. Mark Bentz voted in favour of the ask.

“As much as I would like to see the parkade gone, and I believe eventually it will have to be torn down, I also hear there are some risks if we defer that million dollars this year," he said.

All councillors voted in favour of the budget in a recorded vote.

Keep in mind what the taxpayer ultimately pays is based on the amount of the tax levy and your property assessment value, which is determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC).


  • $250,000 increase to the Thunder Bay Police Service budget to cover criminal record checks
  • A reduced transfer of $85,500 to the capital general reserve fund
  • Removing a $150,000 contribution to the renew Thunder Bay reserve fund
  • $30,000 financing of the community improvement plan through other revenue sources
  • Three curbside leaf and yard waste pick up days, saving the city $85,000
  • An increase to the recreation trails budget by $85,500
  • Using concrete instead of asphalt for repairs on sidewalks, which staff reported would have saved the city $40,000
  • $504,000 increase in waterworks revenue budget
  • $50,000 savings by removing the planning services heritage grant program
  • Bringing back Christmas Day bus service beginning in 2024 at a cost of $42,500
  • $25,000 added to the recreation and culture division of the budget; $15,000 for two movie nights, $10,000 for neighbourhood programming
  • $18,700 decrease in the community, youth and cultural funding within the tax supported operating budget
  • $50,600 Increase in revenues for the parking authority operating budget
  • $27,900 increase in expenses in the parking authority operating budget
  • $85,000 transfer from the stabilization reserve to support the city manager recruitment expenditure


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