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Council approves sale of Junot Avenue property for Indigenous housing

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services proposes a 58-bed supportive housing facility at the site.
Junot posting
(tbnewswatch file photograph)

THUNDER BAY – The sale of a north-side city-owned property to Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services has been given the go-ahead.

The $320,000 transaction of the Junot Avenue property adjacent to Superior North EMS headquarters was approved on Monday night by Thunder Bay city council following a lengthy closed session meeting.

The previous term of council had previously approved granting a portion of the property, which had been declared surplus and valued at $220,000. That amount, along with a $25,000 non-profit discount, will be deducted from the sale price.

Ontario Aboriginal Housing Services last year proposed a 20-bed supportive housing facility, with more units potentially added in future stages. City administration had considered the initial development an under-utilization of the property, so only a portion was granted. The organization then decided to proceed with a project triple the size, bringing forward a 58-bed facility with an estimated construction price of $12 million.

That plan had previously drawn criticism from Coun. Brian McKinnon, who represents the Red River ward where the property is located. McKinnon took issue with the scope of the development, as well as its proximity to two nearby schools. As well, Coun. Albert Aiello, who is the executive director of the adjacent Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay, also voiced opposition to the proposal.

McKinnon and Aiello cast dissenting votes, along with Coun. Mark Bentz and Coun. Peng You.

As part of the vote to move ahead with the sale, council approved designating the property as an area of site plan control.

The organization requires a zoning bylaw amendment to move forward with the project. The necessary zoning bylaw applications will be presented to city council at a future public meeting.

Matt Vis

About the Author: Matt Vis

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Matt is honoured to tell the stories of his hometown.
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