Development Charges

December 26, 2007

Why is it that the Town elected officials are trying to ram everything through as quickly as possible? Take development charges for instance. Of course, something has to be put in place in order to sustain the cost of development with respect to services. Why though does it have to be put in place by January? What is the great urgency?

A letter from Reid's Heritage Homes, one of the area's largest developers, to the Town on December 6 outlines what seems to be a very feasible plan for a phased-in plan of development charges to minimize the impact on builders and development. The letter signed by Peter Fitzgerald, Director of Engineering and Site Services and Jim Dodd, Development Planner, states that, in general, the company is in favour of some sort of service charge to offset and help support infrastructure growth for new development.

 However, several points were also raised including the fact that Saugeen Shores' neighbour, Kincardine, does not have development charges but instead implements a sewer and water charge of $3,300 on new development, which is 50% less than the proposed charges of $8,600 proposed by Saugeen Shores. Reid's also has raised other concerns. For example, when the development charge plan was being considered by the town was the increased summer population taken into account?

How was the estimate for the charges arrived at and what, if anything would be eligible for recovery on a project by project basis? At the very least, Reid's has requested a stakeholders' meeting with the Town and the town's consultant - a very reasonable request over reasonable concerns, prior to any decision being made.

The Town has already set motions in place however to have the planned development charges go through in January giving Reid and other developers like them little chance to make a difference. There is no doubt that existing taxpayers should not have to carry the burden for the entire cost of infrastructure growth however, surely an equitable and amiable solution can be arrived at. Again, why does it appear that so many things are rammed through so quickly? Hmmmm, an interesting question.