To include and implement concepts surrounding smart growth and sustainability into the planning and patterns of land use within the community and the Corporation. In particular, these concepts are to be incorporated into decision-making processes concerning the management of land use for new development and for the evolution and change of existing uses of land.

Why it matters

Land use planning plays a significant role in both defining built landscapes, and shaping the natural landscape. It can be used as a tool to limit the impact of human activities on the environment, as well as to enhance significant cultural aspects of human history.

Thunder Bay's continual expansion despite minimal population growth has significant impacts upon the City - positively for the growth seen in the Intercity area, but negatively on the two former downtown core areas and costs to deliver services. Smart growth and sustainable community values and considerations are increasingly being accepted by society as desirable and achievable elements of community decision making and visions. Careful land use planning can facilitate the livability and sustainability of our built environment.

Aspects within the community that can be addressed through a sustainable community approach to land use management include:

  • Intensification and redevelopment,
  • Concentration and increase in population density,
  • Response to neighbourhood transition and downtown decline,
  • Awareness and protection of sensitive community and ecological assets, and
  • General betterment of the City's aesthetics and quality of life
  • Components of these approaches can be found in the City of Thunder Bay Official Plan (OP) and are integral components of Ontario's Provincial Policy Statement.


  • By 2020, development activities that counter urban sprawl are promoted, providing net energy and land savings and conserving or enhancing ecological functions.
  • Development activities that result in greater socio-economic and demographic diversity in new and existing neighbourhoods are promoted.
  • Development activities are supported that optimize the use of existing infrastructure and are within developed areas, and any new expansions and developments do not compromise Thunder Bay's fiscal health.
  • The public, City Administration and Council are engaged on the merits of land use policies that champion smart growth practices

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