At the November 5 public meeting, Kawartha Lakes Council heard from staff, consultants and members of the public about proposed changes to the Development Charges By-Law and related Policy.
The meeting began with a presentation that outlined the Development Charges Background Study prepared by Watson and Associates. The purpose of Development Charges (DCs) is to recover the capital costs associated with residential and non-residential growth within the municipality. DC revenue helps fund growth-related expansion of such services as water and wastewater facilities, roads and other infrastructure.
Council unanimously adopted a motion by the Mayor that proposed the new Development Charges By-Law to place a focus on incenting job creators. This direction would see a full development charge exemption for industrial development. It would also put in place a full exemption for the first 2,500 square metres of gross floor area for any single commercial development.
These changes are intended to spur creation of new employment opportunities in Kawartha Lakes by enticing new industrial development, and also by encouraging small businesses to expand or relocate to Kawartha Lakes.
Mayor Letham commented, “We need to be proactive in jump-starting the type of development that will provide relief to our current residential tax base. We have the room and infrastructure in place, and we need more businesses to help pay for all of the amenities and services we offer our growing community. We’re deferring revenue to invest in good jobs that will support young families and create the balanced growth we’re striving for.”
The new direction on DCs is to be reviewed in a report by the end of 2021 to understand the financial impacts of the incentives, including an account of new non-residential floor space and jobs created.
The DC study, proposed DC By-Law and proposed DC Assistance Policy, as revised, will be presented to Council for adoption at the December 10, 2019 Council meeting. The comment period will run from October 10 to December 9. Any comments submitted to the Clerks’ Office prior to November 15 will be considered in the preparation of the final DC study. Comments can be submitted to Council until December 9 via the City Clerk’s Office.
The draft Development Charges Background Study, proposed By-Law and proposed Policy are available on the municipal website under Major Projects.