The cost of residential development in Bracebridge is set to become significantly higher in 2022.
Hot on the heels of a District of Muskoka decision to increase development charges by 7.9%, the Town of Bracebridge decided during their most recent General Committee meeting to index their rates by 11.6%.
Although the decision to increase rates was ultimately approved by the committee, not all town councillors were in favour.
Councillor Don Smith said he was concerned with the District increase, and he was equally concerned with the increase at the Town level. Smith said the region is currently in the midst of a housing crisis, and it is the responsibility of council to show support for the housing industry in any way they can.
“I think this sends the wrong message,” said Smith.
On the other side of the argument, Councillor Mark Quemby said the rates have been discounted for years. He said that money was desperately needed for roads and infrastructure projects, including the construction of a new library and arena.
Using anticipated 2021 activity as a starting point, staff estimate that the Town would collect
approximately $62,500 in incremental development charges per year after applying the indexing. The largest increase in development charges would be $517 for a single detached, duplex, and semi-detached unit.
A recent increase by District council will see District development charges for urban single-detached dwellings increase to $13,588 (from $12,617), effective January 1, 2022.
Coun. Quemby said that the construction of $800,000 and $900,000 houses would do little to alleviate the housing crisis and the Town should focus on encouraging the construction of new apartment buildings.
Mayor Graydon Smith echoed Quemby’s comments, saying it was less of an increase than it was staying with the plan they had set out years ago when they were not raising the rates and simply keeping them on par.
The motion passed with Coun. Don Smith opposed.
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