Development charges in the Town of Bracebridge are set for a significant increase but not everyone is on board with the hike.
During this week’s Bracebridge general committee meeting, councillors agreed to index development charges by 15.6%.
Development charges are intended to pay for the initial round of capital costs needed to service new developments, based on the overarching principle that “growth pays for growth”.
Town treasurer Paul Judson said the Town is in the middle of several costly infrastructure projects, including a new arena, and soaring inflation is only making those projects more expensive. As such, Town staff recommended the increase.
However, Coun. Don Smith said increasing development charges by such a significant amount “flies in the face” of everything the province is trying to accomplish with Bill 23, in terms of affordable housing. Smith said one of the biggest problems facing the area right now is a lack of affordable housing and increasing development charges will not help incentivize the construction of new homes.
Mayor Rick Maloney countered that the cost of Town infrastructure must be borne by someone, and if it doesn’t come from development charges it must come from taxpayers.
Coun. Barb McMurray agreed, saying people in rural areas receive fewer benefits for their tax dollars than urban Bracebridge residents.
“Those people building million-dollar homes should have to pay the price,” she said.
In the end, Smith was the only councillor to vote against the motion. It must still be ratified by council during their next meeting on Dec. 15.
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