Feds visit Barrie with $25-million to accelerate housing construction

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Barrie is the latest Ontario community to receive a cheque from the federal government to fast-track housing.

Housing Minister Sean Fraser was in the city Thursday to present a $25.6 million cheque that is expected to spur construction of 680 housing units during the next three years and 4,100 homes over the next 10.

The agreement between Barrie and Ottawa, through with the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), could eliminate barriers to building needed housing.

Mayor Alex Nuttall said the new funding will help address local issues.

“The City of Barrie is uniquely positioned to excel in our housing targets, having committed to 4,100 housing starts,” he said. “We are dedicated to maximizing the impact of every dollar granted to ensure that Barrie residents have access to permanent, attainable, and affordable housing options that align with the pace of our city’s rapid growth.”

Barrie’s housing action plan includes nine initiatives including permitting four units on one lot without the need for rezoning across the city and making city-owned lands available for housing projects.

“The goal here is to make sure that we have housing available for young people, housing available for those in the workforce, housing available for those that are hurting,” the mayor said.

Barrie city designated three parcels of municipally-owned land as surplus with a plan to sell them to developers to build housing.

The properties are:

29 and 35 Sperling Dr. – former Barrie police headquarters. The city’s development concept is for 11- and 12-storey buildings, with a total of 546 units and 473 parking spaces.

48 Dean Ave. – 1.66 acres, on this site’s eastern half, could be rezoned for a 10-storey building with 201 units and 257 parking spaces.

H-Block property – 1.58 acres downtown. The city’s concept plan includes two 33-storey towers, a three-storey podium, 628 units and 395 parking spaces.

Barrie city council endorsed a pledge in early 2023 with a target of 23,000 new homes built here by 2031, in addition to what’s already planned. The pledge is a requirement of Bill 23, which instructed municipal governments to endorse their housing target pledges.


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