Belleville receives $1.24 million for housing infrastructure through Building Faster Fund

Premier Ford joined members of Belleville City Council to present a cheque for $1,240,000 on Friday, March 1. – Ashley Foley photo

Premier Doug Ford joined City of Belleville Mayor Neil Ellis and council at Town Hall today (March 1) to announce $1,240,000 is being provided to the city through the Building Faster Fund.

These funds were provided by the province of Ontario as a reward for the municipality exceeding its 2023 housing targets. Belleville accomplished a groundbreaking achievement with 644 new housing units initiated last year.

Ford expressed his appreciation for Belleville’s accomplishments, stating, “Belleville has stepped up and I’m so proud to present this $1.2 million … to reward them for their success.”

He encouraged the Belleville to utilize the flexible funding toward whatever local priorities it sees fit, adding that the proposed hub for mental health and addiction services in the city would fall within the parameters for these funds.

Mayor Neil Ellis said the city plans to reinvest the funds into the Avonlough Pump Station and delivery system, which will open up lands in the city’s west end to accommodate over 20,000 additional residents.

Ford assured Ellis he would be back next year with even more funds for the Friendly City.

“I can’t wait to get a bigger cheque for you next year. I know you have a project potentially moving forward and just need some infrastructure money to expand on that as well,” Ford said. “I know you need the infrastructure. So stay tuned for a potential infrastructure announcement coming soon.”

Ellis thanked the province for the Building Faster Fund monies, adding that the city does not have plans for slowing down its production of homes yet.

“Council, staff, and residents, along with the Quinte Homebuilders Association, are committed to not only reaching but exceeding our annual housing targets,” Ellis said.

Ford encouraged Belleville and other regions in the province to continue building more homes in the coming years to enhance affordability and sustain homeownership for families province-wide.

The Building Faster Fund was introduced in August 2023 as a three-year, $1.2 billion initiative designed to incentivize municipalities to address the housing supply crisis. The province’s goal is to build at least 1.5 million additional homes by 2031.

The province rewards municipalities that make significant progress against their targets by providing funding for housing- or community-enabling infrastructure, which is what Ford was doing for Belleville today. Municipalities that exceed their targets receive increased funding.

In 2023, the province’s new housing target was 110,000, and last year 99 per cent of these targets were met, which included rental properties and long-term care beds. Nearly 10,000 additional residential units were created in 2023.

Todd Smith, MPP for Bay of Quinte, echoed the government’s commitment to assisting Belleville with funding to address the city’s needs and facilitate further home construction. Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra, applauded Belleville and other municipalities for meeting or surpassing their housing targets, emphasizing the government’s dedication to building more homes.

With the support of provincial funding through the Building Faster Fund and other governments, Belleville aims to continue its progress toward meeting housing demands and enhancing livability for its residents.

Looking toward the future, Ellis said Belleville also remains committed to building affordable housing for all residents, and that the Avonlough Pump Station will include a variety of housing needs.

Any unspent funds will be made available for housing-enabling infrastructure to all municipalities through an application process. A portion of the fund is allocated for small, rural, and northern municipalities to expedite the increase of housing supply.

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