Province ‘rewards’ City of Kingston with $3.2 Million for exceeding housing targets

Members of Kingston City Council are joined by representatives of the Government of Ontario in celebrating more than $3 million in funding for the City of Kingston through the province’s ‘Building Faster Fund’ on Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024. Pictured here (L to R) are: Councillor Jeff McLaren, MPP John Jordan (back), Councillor Conny Glenn, Councillor Gary Oosterhoff (back), Councillor Paul Chaves, Mayor Bryan Paterson, MPP Ted Hsu, Councillor Wendy Stephen, Councillor Vincent Cinanni, and Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing for the Government of Ontario. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated since it was originally published on Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024, at 12:39 p.m. Please see bottom of article for most recently updated information.

At a press conference in Kingston City Hall on the morning of Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024, the Province of Ontario announced $3,200,000 in funding for the City of Kingston.

The funding, according to the province, is a “reward” for the City having “exceeded its 2023 housing target, breaking ground on a total of 1,465 new housing units last year.” The $3.2 million was announced by Paul Calandra, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, and comes from the ‘Building Faster Fund.’

“I applaud the work being done by Kingston and all the other municipalities that have met or exceeded their housing targets and I’m proud to see these communities helping lead the province when it comes to building homes,” Minister Calandra said in a statement.

“My message to mayors across this province is that we must continue to work together and build on our progress on making homeownership a reality for everyone. We will give you the tools you need, including through our recent budget investment of more than $1.8 billion in housing-enabling infrastructure.”

The government explained that, as announced in August 2023, the Building Faster Fund is a $1.2 billion program “designed to encourage municipalities to address the housing supply crisis.” The fund “rewards” municipalities that “make significant progress against their targets by providing funding for housing-enabling and community-enabling infrastructure.”

Funding is provided to Ontario municipalities that have reached at least 80 per cent of their provincially assigned housing target for the year. Municipalities that exceed their target are rewarded with increased funding, according to the province.

“Kingston was one of several communities across Ontario to surpass our provincial housing targets last year. As we continue to grow, investments like the one announced today will ensure we remain focused on housing that’s affordable and accessible,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said in a statement.

“Thank you to the province for its commitment to our shared housing priorities and recognizing we can’t do this alone. Programs like the Building Faster Fund play a crucial role, not only in constructing houses but also in developing welcoming communities.”

MPP John Jordon (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston), Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson, MPP Ted Hsu (Kingston and the Islands) and Ontario’s Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Paul Calandra were all smiles at the Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024, funding announcement. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

In a press release issued at the same time Minister Calandra made the announcement here in Kingston, the province said the Building Faster Fund includes $120 million for “small, rural and northern municipalities to help build housing-enabling infrastructure and prioritize projects that speed up the increase of housing supply.” The province did not specify which projects in Kingston received any funding through that stream, if any. The province also did not mention any specific developments or projects in Kingston that created the increased housing.

“Congratulations to Mayor Paterson and every member of your team at the City of Kingston,” said John Jordan, MPP for Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston, in a statement.

 “You not only accepted the challenge put forth to municipalities throughout Ontario, you exceeded project targets significantly – getting shovels in the ground for over 1,400 new homes in 2023. The combined efforts of skilled professionals at every level have paid off and the City of Kingston will benefit with an additional $3.2 million from the Building Faster Fund. Because you’ve worked collaboratively to find the path forward, there’s renewed hope for the people of Kingston who are waiting to cross the threshold to a new home and a better future.”

Although Ted Hsu, MPP for Kingston and the Islands, was present for the announcement, the Government of Ontario did not provide a statement from the Liberal representative.

It should be noted that, at the same time as this announcement took place, City of Kingston staff were also hosting a virtual press briefing on the City’s enforcement of the daytime sheltering ban in public parks and the encampment at Belle Park. Kingstonist will have coverage of that press event in the coming hours, but yesterday’s coverage can be read here.

This article will be updated with further comment from Kingston area politicians about this funding in the coming hours.

With files from Cris Vilela.

UPDATE (Thursday, Apr. 4, 2024, at 1:50 p.m.):
In addressing the media at the announcement, Mayor Bryan Paterson shared the following details:

“Kingston [is] invested in being a leader in housing innovation. So, as much as we need to do more of what we’ve always done. We are very invested in doing new things, [trying] new approaches to housing,” Mayor Paterson said at the event.

“[We’re] very proud of the fact that we have several pilot projects for modular homes here in Kingston. We have launched what we believe is the province’s first program to allow for employers to build dedicated housing for new employees on their property. I know a number of employers have asked for that. And this month, we’re going to be rolling out that Community Improvement Plan that will provide dedicated incentives, property tax reductions for new rental housing built in the next three years. We’re hoping that together these sorts of policies and initiatives will make a real difference and make sure that not only do we blow past our housing target for 2023, but we’re aiming high. We want to do the same thing for 2024, 2025, and 2026.”

In terms of where the money will go, Paterson stated that the City has plans to “build lots of new housing in the core of the city.”

“To be able to do that we’re going to need to upgrade the existing infrastructure,” he continued. “In order to be able to build more housing, you’ve got to have those pipes in the ground. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got the water and the wastewater capacity. And… there’s a lot of capital work that needs to be done. So these funds are going to help us with that.”

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