Development charge changes gets its time in the public eye in Oshawa Friday morning


Published May 22, 2024 at 11:05 am

houses under construction Oshawa

Oshawa residents will get a chance on Friday to see what the City is doing to mitigate the effects of recent provincial legislation that have made it difficult for local governments to make developers pay for development.

A public meeting on an update to Oshawa’s Development Charge By-Law will be held in the Council Chambers at 9:30 a.m. Friday to discuss the new rules, which will cost local municipalities an estimated $5 billion in lost development charges over the next decade.

The legislation is meant to fast-track housing proposals on municipal agendas by cutting red tape on housing projects by eliminating or drastically decreasing the development charges home builders and developers would have to pay.

That money is used to pay for the infrastructure needed to support the new developments – from sewer, water and roads to parks. Taxpayers will now have to foot the bill.

Bill 185, Bill 23 and similar legislation also restricts the powers of conservation authorities and the public to scrutinize development on environmentally sensitive areas such as wetlands or floodplains.

Members of the public wishing to address Council in person do not need to register to speak at the meeting, which was originally scheduled for May 10. Those who want to make a delegation electronically are required to submit their request no later than noon Thursday by contacting Legislative Services in writing at [email protected].

Questions relating to the proposed by-law Update and Development Charge Background Study can be directed to Stephanie Sinnott at (905) 436-3311 X 3851 or [email protected].

On April 10 the Province released Bill 185, the Cutting Red Tape to Build More Homes Act, which if passed as drafted, will repeal the mandatory five-year phase-in of development charges rates and streamline the process for extending the by-laws; reinstate studies as an eligible capital cost; and reduce the time limit on the development charges freeze from two years to  18 months.

Bill 185 permits a unique six-month window for municipalities to undertake any minor amendments to the new regulations, prompting Oshawa and other local government to make changes to their own by-laws.

The legislation followed Bill 23, which was passed the previous year and Oshawa made its stance on that legislation clear soon after the bill made first reading in the Legislature: it sucks.

The City’s actual response was a bit more nuanced than that but the sentiment was the same as Oshawa Development Services commissioner Warren Munro and his staff produced a report that served as Oshawa’s public comments on the new rules.

The goal of the new legislation is to allow the construction of 1.5 million more homes – including 50,000 on protected greenbelt lands the Conservative government had previously sworn were off limits for development.

Durham Region has been targeted for 84,000 new homes over the next decade, a rate of construction never accomplished. Oshawa is on the hook for 23,000 of those homes, an ambitious goal considering the city has never come close to building houses at that rate, despite smashing building permit records last year by $300 million.

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