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Recruitment for the mayor's housing task force starts now

Recruiting committee members will take place over the next three to four weeks before a recommendation is brought to council.
File photo of Thunder Bay Mayor Ken Boshcoff

THUNDER BAY – The process has started to create the mayor’s task force that will focus on more housing in Thunder Bay.

The task force was developed as part of the pledge the city made to the province to achieve 2,200 units by 2031.

Stefan Huzan from Northern Planning spoke to council Monday, offering his recommendations on behalf of builders to include three housing industry members on the task force instead of one.

“This is intended to be a rapid action group, not a forum for theoretical discussions. Many people are interested in housing, but they are not well positioned to be making housing action recommendations. They should still be able to sit in on the task force discussions,” Huzan said  in his deputation.

“The clock on available provincial and federal housing incentive funds is ticking down very fast, therefore actions must be taken as rapidly as possible. Otherwise, the people of Thunder Bay who need homes, and the industry that is in a position to supply them, will simply lose out on millions in grant dollars. We cannot afford actions that are too late or too slow," he said.

At-large Coun. Shelby Ch’ng pointed out to Huzan that Thunder Bay is one of nine communities in the province that have met their housing goals, and asked why would “we cheap out on a consultation at this point?”

Huzan said there are a range of reasons why the city is meeting its housing goals.

"If you talk to people in the industry, there are a couple of developers out there that are very intensively investing in the construction of new homes, which contributes strongly to meeting those goals.

“On the other hand, I hear from others in the same field that say ‘Oh my goodness we're having difficulties, it's challenging and maybe we're going to make more money in other markets.’ So they're actually thinking of targeting their investments in housing into other communities.”

At-large Coun. Rajni Agarwal also stressed the need to get something done right away.

“April 19 is very important for us as a community because that's when the housing enabling water systems fund is available for project ready items to create more housing within our community. That has nothing to do with the Housing Accelerator Fund and how much we receive from that,” Agarwal said during the meeting.

“If we wait for a task force to come up with terms of reference to be able to do these projects, we will miss out on a ton of money.”

Development services director Joel DePeuter responded that municipalities have not yet received the details for the building faster fund.

He also stated that the establishment of the task force is not for submitting applications nor would they decide on projects that fall under a certain application.

The Committee will be made up of the following members:

  • Mayor Ken Boshcoff
  • Representative of a construction/trades association involved in housing construction
  • Representative of a public/not-for-profit housing organization involved in affordable housing
  • Representative of a real estate association
  • Representative of an Indigenous-led stakeholder with affordable housing development experience
  • Representative of an institution delivering construction and trades training
  • Member from the public with working knowledge or research involvement in housing and housing affordability and development

Recruiting members for the committee will take place over the next three to four weeks before a recommendation is brought to council.

Council also voted in favour of including the mayor’s policy advisor, Larry Joy, on the administration side of the committee.


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