Belleville mayor requests additional provincial funding for housing and infrastructure in letter to premier

Belleville City Hall. – Photo by Hollie Pratt-Campbell/Hometownist

A motion was passed unanimously by the City of Belleville council on June 24 regarding a resolution to address the financial impact of recent provincial housing legislation and to request additional funding from the Ontario government.

The request is being made in response to recent provincial legislation—Bill 108, Bill 109 and Bill 23—which now pose financial challenges for the City of Belleville. A report prepared by City staff identified a significant loss of $1,081,000 in potential revenue due to these legislative changes.

A resolution to request more funds and support was moved by Counc. Kelly and seconded by Counc. Allsopp. Kelly emphasized the importance of the Premier reading the letter carefully to achieve positive outcomes for Belleville’s housing and infrastructure initiatives.

“I just wanted to thank the mayor’s office for a well-written letter, and hopefully, the premier reads it twice and we get some positive results,” Kelly said.

The Building Faster Fund, initiated by the Ontario government, aims to expedite the construction of new housing across the province. This fund seeks to reduce bureaucratic delays, streamline approval processes, and provide financial incentives to municipalities that meet or exceed housing development targets. For Belleville, this fund has been particularly significant, enabling the city to surpass its housing targets for two consecutive years and gain recognition from the premier.

In his letter, Mayor Neil Ellis outlined Belleville’s significant efforts and achievements in meeting the province’s housing targets. He emphasized that Belleville has not only met, but exceeded, the housing growth targets set by the province for the years 2022 and 2023.

During Ford’s visit to Belleville City Hall in March 2024, he praised and highlighted the city’s proactive stance in addressing the housing crisis and exceeding its targets.

Staff and council expressed that the nearly $1 million loss in revenue could have been invested in further infrastructure projects necessary to support new housing developments.

In response to these financial impacts, Belleville City Council passed a resolution requesting additional support from the Ontario government, advocating for the creation of a new funding program beyond the existing Building Faster Fund to compensate municipalities for revenue losses resulting from the recent housing bills.

Mayor Ellis’ letter emphasized that this support is crucial to ensure cities like Belleville can continue their critical infrastructure investments and sustain progress in addressing the provincial housing crisis.

The letter also detailed Belleville’s ongoing investments in critical infrastructure to support future growth. Key projects include a $55 million sewage pump station and conveyance system to open up lands in the west end of the city to accommodate 24,000 new residents.

In addition, over $65 million is being invested in the expansion of the municipal industrial park, which is expected to create job opportunities for both new and current residents.

The letter was also sent to Todd Smith, Minister of Education and MPP for Bay of Quinte; Ric Bresee, MPP for Hastings-Lennox and Addington; and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, to garner broader support for the City of Belleville’s request.

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