City of Yellowknife, feds announce $8.4M to spur new housing development

Yellowknife deputy mayor Garett Cochrane, left, with N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod on Monday, announcing new funding aimed at fast-tracking housing development in the city. (Robert Holden / CBC)

By Robert Holden · CBC News 

Funding aimed at helping city cut housing red tape

The City of Yellowknife has announced a new $8.4-million deal with the federal government aimed at speeding up housing development in the city.

The agreement is intended to fast-track over 150 homes in the next three years and spur the construction of 2,500 homes in the city over the next decade.

The announcement was made on Monday by N.W.T. MP Michael McLeod on behalf of Sean Fraser, the federal housing minister, as well as Garett Cochrane, deputy mayor of Yellowknife.

Cochrane said the funding will not go directly toward home construction, but rather to cutting red tape, and streamlining development processes and infrastructure planning.

“We will work to further modernize the city’s policy and regulatory approach on housing to provide greater choice and increased affordability,” he said.

“This includes core work like a housing needs assessment, updating and enhancing our development incentive bylaw, working on streamlining the development process and much more.”

A news release outlined other objectives for the funding, which included the re-development of underused sites, introducing a new density policy, and preparing land for residential development.

Work will also involve expanding the city’s community and energy plans for climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

The funding comes from the Housing Accelerator Fund (HAF), which was launched in March 2023 and will run until 2026-27.

“Through the fund, federal and municipal governments are working toward our shared goal of fast-tracking at least 100,000 housing units from coast to coast to coast, over the next three years,” said McLeod.

The federal government estimates the $4-billion fund will lead to the creation of over 750,000 new homes over the next decade.

Crunching the numbers

The N.W.T. Bureau of Statistics projects Yellowknife will have a population of 21,957 by 2025, and a population of 22,579 by 2035. That’s a projected increase of 1,155 residents over a ten-year period.

The new funding agreement aims to spur construction of 2,500 new homes over roughly the same period.

Meantime, earlier this month, a report warned the N.W.T. could lose hundreds of jobs and residents when the mines close.

Graeme Clinton, owner of research firm Impact Economics, which created the 24-page report titled “Eyes Wide Open,” told Yellowknife’s mayor and council earlier this month that more than 1,500 direct and indirect jobs could be lost in the coming years, with up to 1,100 residents leaving the territory.

The Diavik Diamond is slated to close in 2026, with other diamond mines following, starting in 2030.

Asked about the report by CBC News, N.W.T. Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek said she thinks any impacts from the closure of diamond mines in the territory are still a ways off.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Lack of housing in Dawson City, Yukon putting some long-term residents in a tough spot, CBC News

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