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Tecumseh 'taking bold move' in bid for $4.3 million in Housing Accelerator Funding

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A few weeks after the City of Windsor’s application for millions through the housing accelerator fund was rejected, a neighbouring municipality is in the process of finalizing its own application for the grant.

If successful, the Town of Tecumseh could receive $4.3 million through the fund.

The Town was advised by phone on Monday that it was short-listed to receive funding. The revised application to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation requires the municipality to facilitate the building of 137 units in order to receive the money.

That money also comes with criteria to change existing town bylaws to allow fourplexes ‘as of right’ — a step Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara is hopeful council and the community will take.

“Council understands we're in a housing crisis. They know that,” said Mayor McNamara, pointing to recent sixplex construction in town, adding there’s an appetite for a mix of housing options, but it doesn’t mean developers will build nothing but multiplexes.

“There's a lot of misconceptions out there that you know, that fourplexes are gonna spring up like flowers. Well, that's not the case,” he said.

The town doesn’t have its application approved yet, but sources say it’s trending in the right direction.

Mayor McNamara indicated the need for housing and federal funding is great, as it will allow the municipality to offset the costs of infrastructure, possibly waive development charges and other fees to get builders building — without pushing the costs onto the existing tax base.

“We're getting 1,000 people a month coming into the greater metropolitan area, we got to put them somewhere,” McNamara said.

This is just two weeks after The City of Windsor’s application for $30 million dollars to the same fund was rejected because a majority of council wasn’t willing to adjust the city’s bylaws to allow fourplexes to be built anywhere in the city.

“If you want the support of the federal government through the housing accelerator fund, you have to demonstrate a level of ambition that outperforms your very ambitious neighbours,” said Housing Minister Sean Fraser during an interview with CTV News on Feb. 1, shortly after Windsor’s application was rejected.

“Tecumseh is taking that bold move they're taking that step and saying you know what, we want to work with the federal government,” said Windsor Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk, who added agreeing to the terms is important because it will accelerate home building.

Kusmierczyk said it allows builders to build the types of housing that is in demand and in a more affordable range.

"We need to build the type of housing that seniors can afford that young people can't afford that working families can afford,” Kusmierczyk said.

Council will meet soon and the public will be part of that process to make necessary bylaw changes if order to satisfy the government’s program criteria.

“These are opportunities that you can’t dismiss, you've got to look at the big picture,” said McNamara.

“We need to start putting shovels in the ground.”

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