Ontario Construction News staff writer
Developers of high-density residential construction projects in St. Catharines will now be required to pay a community benefits charge fornew growth-related community-building projects within the city.
City Council approved a strategy that will drive funding for a broad range of community-improving projects via development growth with the finalization of the City’s first Community Benefits Charge (CBC) Strategy and By-law.
“A Community Benefits Charge will help ensure growth pays for growth allowing the City to maintain and expand services and programs to meet the growing needs of our community,” said Adam Smith, associate director of Financial Management Services. “There are a number of exciting community-improving projects and initiatives that will be supported by funding from the CBC.”
Several Ontario municipalities including Toronto have implemented new CBC bylaws under the Ontario Planning Act. St. Catharines will implement new charges on Sept. 1, to help fund growth-related capital costs not covered by tools such as the existing development charges.
Based on population and development projections identified in the study the city anticipates generating $5.2 million in CBC funds over the next 10 years.
Projects funded by the proposed CBCs include culture and public realm projects, City-wide corporate and building infrastructure, and growth studies to further identify the needs of the City. Some examples:
- Public art strategies
- Art installations
- Downtown and Facer Street gateway features
- James Street public realm improvements
- Community Garden Strategy
- Heritage initiatives
- Housing Action Plan Update
The CBC rate cannot exceed four per cent of the property’s land value as of the day before a building permit is issued. The CBC is paid as a one-time fee by the property developer or builder.