I have long been an advocate for managing the cost of Calgary’s growth. After a decade of debate and billions of dollars added to The City’s debt, City Council unanimously agreed to end the “sprawl subsidy” to ensure that growth pays for itself. I am extremely proud of this work.
Over the last year, The City worked closely with the urban and suburban development industries to establish an off-site levy to apply to all new developments. An important partnership emerged, one in which the industry agreed to become an enhanced steward of a growing City. The new rates took effect on February 1st of this year and will provide the City with a lot more financial flexibility.
As a result, levies paid by developers to The City will now cover the cost of infrastructure needed for new communities, as well as upgrades to infrastructure for established communities. Those costs have to be paid one way or another. With the new levy, the cost of necessary infrastructure is included in the purchase price, rather than hidden through property taxes or utility fees.
The key elements of the new off-site levy are:
• Developers will pay for water and wastewater treatment in new and established communities city-wide;
• Developer levies will cover the full cost of water distribution, wastewater collection, drainage, transportation (roads, intersections, traffic signals, bridges), and community services (libraries, police stations, fire halls) in new communities;
With this important policy established, the stage is set for the next steps. New development in established communities means real change for the residents who live there, and added wear and tear on public amenities. Increased density can also mean a dramatic increase in property tax revenue. As part of the levy discussion, The City agreed to work with the urban developers, and the communities experiencing redevelopment, to find ways to reinvest in aging infrastructure. Communities experiencing significant change will see a direct benefit, with improvements to valued amenities like parks, sidewalks, recreation centres, and libraries.
Over the next year, I will be meeting with Ward 7 communities to talk more about community improvements resulting from redevelopment.
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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.