Development fees will be implemented in Whitewater

·2 min read

Cobden -- New construction means extra money in the pot for Whitewater Region Township to use for capital expenditures regarding growth in infrastructure.

Council approved charging development fees at a special meeting Wednesday, April 14. However, the by-law for final approval is expected to be passed at the May 5 council meeting.

“This is for a one-time new development based on the type of service,” Township Planner Ivan Burton said.

He said there is a $3,000 fee for township-wide service, $1,000 for water and $1,500 for wastewater services. For non-residential uses per square foot, it’s 50 cents for township-wide; $1 for wastewater and 50 cents for water.

Mr. Burton noted the by-law also gives council the opportunity to waive the charges at its discretion, noting this by-law gives examples, such as places of worship and bona-fide farm uses/buildings.

Chief Administrative Officer Robert Tremblay reminded council development charges come as a result of growth. Current taxpayers pay all the costs, while new growth is given a pass. The development charges will help with future capital infrastructure costs.

Councillor Charlene Jackson said the fees are very appropriate and will allow the township to “move forward with required development structures.

“This is long overdue that we do this. I’m glad staff is moving this forward,” she said.

Councillor Neil Nicholson was also in favour of development charges, noting growth needs to pay for growth.

“If we had development charges 10 to 15 years ago, we would have seen lower user fees,” he said. “The current residents are paying for all the growth that has occurred.”

Coun. Nicholson said development charges ensure there is capital available when needed.

Councillor Daryl McLaughlin was hopeful the fees would be put into their own fund and not the general fund, which he received assurances from Treasurer Sean Crozier that’s exactly what’s happening.

“They will be kept segregated and accounted for with a running balance,” he said.

He also agreed with Coun. Nicholson, that if development charges had been instituted years ago, “we would not be in the pickle we are now,” as he noted all the water lines need to be replaced in Cobden.

However, Mr. Tremblay said the fees paid can only be used for specific purposes, as they are not to be used to change the system, but for growth in the system. Development charges can be used for highway services, fire protection, recreation services, library, administration, waste diversion, water and wastewater services.

Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader