In February 2016, The City implemented new levies for development in both new and existing communities, marking a turning point in Calgary’s approach to managing and paying for growth. As I shared in your March newsletter, the development levies are the outcome of The City and the development industry working together on an agreement for how to cover the full cost of growth.
So what has changed? Previously, The City covered the costs of major infrastructure upgrades like new waste-water treatment plants for greenfield development, which effectively amounted to a “sprawl subsidy”. With the new agreement now in place, developers will pay for the full cost of critical municipal infrastructure.
I have been working to achieve fair development levies since before I was elected to City Council, and while the new levies are a major accomplishment, the work is not yet done. The ultimate goal is for the levy to help fund public realm and facility improvements in established neighbourhoods that are experiencing significant redevelopment.
How can the levy help? When property is redeveloped for higher density, The City collects an increase in property taxes. We call this phenomenon “uplift”. The City plans to capture a portion of this uplift for reinvestment in local amenities and public realm improvements for neighbourhoods going through change.
Common examples of improvements could be upgraded sidewalks and lighting, preservation of heritage buildings, new or refurbished parks and green spaces, or renovations to recreation and community centres.
The City is just starting to research the process for identifying amounts available for community reinvestment projects. As we move into this important next phase, it is critical that we involve Calgarians. We want to tap into local knowledge to determine opportunities that can enrich your neighbourhoods. To that end, I brought together Ward 7 community associations and City staff to start thinking about what types of reinvestment they would like to see as their communities experience redevelopment. The needs and goals of each community will likely be different, and we will look to your community associations to help identify areas of improvement that matter to you.
There will be much more to come on this topic, so to stay up-to-date on this and other Ward 7 issues, please sign up for my email newsletter: firstname.lastname@example.org
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.