Ottawa proposes new development charges to cover costs of growth

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The City of Ottawa is proposing new rates for development charges to pay for growth in the city over the next 10 to 17 years.

“Through the Building a Liveable Ottawa initiative, Council has approved the roadmap for our continued growth and prosperity,” stated Mayor Jim Watson. “Development charges are an important tool for ensuring that growth pays for growth and the new infrastructure required to move our city forward with effective and exciting new parkland, cycling, pedestrian and transportation options for our residents and businesses, including Stage 2 of our rapid transit transit expansion.”

Development charges pay for the growth-related portion of capital costs for new roads, water, sewers, drainage, emergency services, transit, parks development, major indoor recreation facilities, libraries and growth related studies. The charges are paid by the developer per residential unit and by square footage for commercial and industrial development.

“These charges represent the cost of growth in Ottawa, and are fair in that new homeowners will pay for their share of the new infrastructure and general taxpayers will cover the portion that benefits the existing community,” said Councillor Peter Hume, Chair of the Planning Committee.

Councillor Hume also chaired a Sponsors Group comprised of urban, suburban and rural Members of Council to lead the review of the charges.

“One of the primary goals of the Sponsors was to improve the timelines associated with the construction of new parks. We are doing this by having the developer build local and community parks, similar to how they build other components of public infrastructure such as sewers and sidewalks. The City will ensure that these parks are built to City standards and will continue to build District parks,” said Councillor Hume.

In Ottawa, development charges currently account for between 2.5 to six per cent of the cost of a new house, depending on location. The current rates will remain in effect until September 30, 2014, when they will then rise in the urban area by $5,068 to $5,517 for a single or semi-detached house, depending on the charge area. This is approximately three to seven per cent of the cost of a new house.

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