Nova Scotia

Halifax mulls new homebuilding fee

A proposed increase in fees paid by builders in Halifax Regional Municipality could add to the cost of homes.

A proposed increase in fees paid by builders in Halifax Regional Municipality could add to the cost of new homes.

When a builder puts in a new subdivision or new apartment building, the city has to provide more services in that area.

Currently the city only charges developers a fee for the increased costs of treating waste water and garbage. It's about $1,000 per new home.

But the city's finance committee is recommending they start charging builders for the increased cost of providing fire services, libraries and recreational facilities.

If approved the city could start charging an additional $2,000 for every new home and $1,600 for every new apartment.

New fees are 'fair'

Gloria McClusky, the chairwoman of the council's finance committee, said it's only fair that the people creating the demand pay for those new services

"If the new developers or new owners don't  pay, all the rest of us have to pay. So to me, that's fair," she said of the increase.

On Tuesday, councillors will be asked to approve a motion seeking the province's permission to amend the city's charter to give it the right to charge the new fees

 If that happens, city staff will have to draft a new bylaw before it can start adding the new fees to every building permit.

Paul Pettipas, the head of the Nova Scotia Homebuilders Association, first heard of the city's plan when approached by CBC News.

He said taxes and fees already add 20 per cent to the cost of a new home and the proposed fee would just make it even costlier. Those costs, he said, would be passed on to homebuyers.

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