Growth fees proposal: Brian Bowman and stakeholders still not on same page
WINNIPEG – Developers and members of the business community met with Mayor Brian Bowman Monday to discuss the controversial growth fees recommendation.
The proposed plan would charge thousands of dollars in fees on new homes and commercial buildings in Winnipeg. The growth fee report recommends a fee of approximately $10 per square foot for new residential homes.
Winnipeg has been adding about 2,000 new condominium units each year according to the Manitoba Homebuilders’ Association. Each new unit averages about 1,100 square feet. With the proposed new growth fees – that would generate $22 million in new cash for the city.
At the same time, about 2,000 new homes were built in the city last year – each averaging about 1,700 square feet, for another $34 million in growth fees.
That puts the total at $56 million in residential fees alone.
Approximate figures provided by the Winnipeg Construction Association suggest another $29 million would be generated by new commercial building, for a total of $85 million in new money for city hall.
Bowman and Mike Moore from the Manitoba Home Builders Association said there was good communication and a sense of open dialogue at the meeting, but neither side seems to have changed their position.
“We’d like to see it expedited as soon as possible considering the status quo is not an option,” Bowman said.
Bowman said he instructed civic administration to have a report ready for council quickly.
Qualico’s vice-president of community development, Eric Vogan, said he is optimistic that further discussions will take place but the process needs to slow down.
“I don’t think this will work, if indeed he proposes to move ahead I think there will be trouble.”
The meeting also included the Winnipeg and Manitoba chambers of commerce and the Urban Development Institute.
Loren Remillard from the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce said the meeting was productive, but also agrees it’s going to take time.
“Let’s craft something that’s going to work. That’s not rushed, that’s not artificial, something that respects all stakeholders in this process.”
Another meeting is scheduled for Tuesday with members of the commercial development industry.
Growth fees would have to be approved by city council before they are implemented.
There is no date set for a vote at city hall.
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