Build it and they will come — and when they do they will pay higher fees.
A study by Hemson with a council-endorsed high-growth forecast projects Strathroy-Caradoc to grow from just under 24,000 residents to over 31,000 in the next 15 years, a 30 percent increase.
With expansion of recreation facilities, park amenities and programs to serve growing populations, Strathroy-Caradoc council was told they should double “soft service” development charges (DCs) for new housing construction. It would result in 13 and 15 percent overall increases to DCs in Mt. Brydges and Strathroy respectively.
Indoor recreation takes up 76 percent of those soft services. Park development and facilities take up 23 percent, and development-related is one percent. Nothing is going to library services with no expansion planned in the near future.
Senior Hemson consultant Andrew Mirabella recommends updating the bylaw by May 16’s council meeting.
While the increases are the same for both population centres, Mt. Brydges would still have higher charges than Strathroy: almost $30,000 vs $26,465 for single family or semi-detached homes, for example.
Coun. Larry Cowan, whose ward two covers Mt. Brydges, asked for an explanation on the higher charge.
The difference came from previous bylaw passed, according to Mirabella.
“Which are largely related to your water and waste water servicing requirements in each of those two areas,” he explained.
Coun. Steve Pelkman pointed out with DCs, building permits, and sewer connection fees totalling nearly $60,000, which does not include the cost of a $150,000-plus lot, attainable housing is getting hard to build.
“Even though for me attainable housing is a huge issue, I’m still in favour of increasing the DC and including the charges that we’ve calculated for because at the end of the day, growth has to pay for growth. And in the absence of that, the ratepayers and the existing tax base would have to front those costs if we expand our services to accommodate the growth of the municipality,” said Pelkman.
Chris Gareau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner