ACW Council takes step towards charges
BY DENNY SCOTT
Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh (ACW) Township Council has taken another step towards implementing its proposed development charges bylaw, which will help fund growth through new development.
Lisa Courtney of B.M. Ross and Associates presented the proposed document during a public meeting at council’s August 23 meeting for council to consider before officially debating the bylaw, which means it could be adopted as early as council’s Sept. 13 meeting.
In total, the proposed development charge bylaw could be based on up to $3,657,959 worth of projects, some of which would be paid for by new development everywhere in the municipality and some of which would be area-rated.
The projects included in the development charge bylaw, which is revisited every five years for the inclusion of new projects and updating completed ones, are as follows:
• Birch Beach Bridge replacement: $78,184
• Zion Road Bridge replacement: $445,000
• Birch Beach Road: $98,250
• London Road intersection: $27,500
• Work at Airport, Mill and Chaplain roadwork: $1,400,000
• Westmount Line: $122,500
• Zion Road: $158,250
• Glen’s Hill Road: $225,000
• A one-tonne truck: $65,000
• A backhoe: $105,000
• Sidewalk plow: $60,000
• Saltford water expansion: $288,000
• Playground equipment: $20,000
• Washrooms: $200,000
• Gazebos: $77,200
• Trail development: $37,200
• Studies: $250,875
If council decides to implement the charges, it can do so either at the full value or any value less than that. If adopted at the full value, the municipality would collect residential development charges across the municipality at $8,930 per single and semi-detached unit including $1,085 in administration, $1,565 in parks and recreation costs and $6,280 in infrastructure costs. Multi-unit development or apartment development charges would cost $6,220 per unit or per two-bedroom apartment in a development including $756 administration, $1,090 parks and recreation and $4,374 in infrastructure. Developments including single-bedroom apartments, bachelor apartments, mobile units or park model trailers would be charged $5,212 per unit including $633 administration, $914 parks and recreation and $3,665 in infrastructure.
Saltford has a special area charge for water costs, ranging from an additional $702 per unit for single-bedroom apartments to $1,204 for single and semi-detached units.
Council took questions from the public at the meeting, during which individuals who had previously wanted to make sure that developers paid their fair share for a development in Port Albert were now worried that those same developers would be hit twice: once by development charges and once under the Port Albert master plan. The latter lays out costs of development in the area and, as Courtney explained, wasn’t able to be addressed with development charges. She said that most of the work for development would benefit existing development, and development charges are supposed to only pay for costs associated with new growth.
“That’s problematic for accounting,” she said.
She also pointed out that development charges are applied when a building permit is issued, so without the master plan, council could end up “holding the bag” for improved infrastructure until development occurs.
Council members and senior staff assured the public that they had considered development charges to address improving infrastructure, specifically upgrading Ashfield Road, in the settlement area of Port Albert, but that wouldn’t be “consistent and fair” due to the number of existing vacant lots throughout the community.
Deputy-Reeve Roger Watt, however, felt the public concerns were warranted, saying he wasn’t happy with the financial solution of a “double whammy” with both development charges and the master plan.
Councillor Jennifer Miltenburg reiterated that council did consider a development charge and that, while the master plan wasn’t necessarily a perfect solution, it was the one council decided to approve. She also addressed the fact that some public comments had likened Port Albert to Mississauga, as far as development charges were concerned, and said that wasn’t a “fair” comparison.
Council discussed the issue further before receiving Courtney’s report.
Provided there are no delays, the development charges bylaw will be presented to council at its Sept. 13 meeting.