Mayor proposes new growth-fee plan with lower charges, slower implementation
New residential area would be subject to fees on May 1, pending council approval
The pause placed on Winnipeg's new growth-fee plan turned out to last three weeks and two days.
Mayor Brian Bowman has unveiled an amended version of a growth-fee plan he put on hold on Sept. 21 in the face of vehement opposition from city developers and construction companies.
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On Friday afternoon, Bowman announced a growth-fee plan that would be phased in over the course of three years, instead of beginning to charge them on Jan. 1.
On May 1, development fees on residential projects starting at a handful of designated areas at the fringes of the city.
In two years, the fees will also be applied to industrial, commercial, institutional and office developments.
Then in three years, the fees would be applied to residential infill developments in older and mature neighbourhoods, as well as in downtown Winnipeg.
"These exemptions will allow for additional time to determine if and how impact fees in these areas could be implemented," the city asserted in a statement.
The fees would at first be 50 per cent of what was proposed in September, which works out to roughly $500 for every 100 square feet of new residential space.
Bowman said the changes were made following consultations with the development community, led by council property chairman John Orlikow (River Heights-Fort Garry).
The mayor denied the city rolled out higher fees first merely to soften the blow of lower fees, which Orlikow said would bring in $7 million to $10 million in 2017.
Orlikow declined to promise he would not roll back infrastructure spending by a similar amount in 2017, but acknowledged if he did so, he would be appearing to use growth-fee revenue to backfill Winnipeg's operating budget.
Bowman and Orlikow also announced the creation of a working group that would determine what the growth fees should be in the long term.
South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Coun. Janice Lukes called the amended plan a surprise and suggested numbers have been plucked from the air.
Manitoba Home Builders Association Mike Moore called the announcement reckless and joked he hasn't lost any trust in the mayor.
Council's executive policy committee will vote on the amended plan on Wednesday. EPC members who represent suburban wards, such as Lukes and Brian Mayes (St. Vital), are expected to vote against it.
Pending EPC approval, council will vote on the plan on Oct. 26.