Halton Region Approves Infrastruture Plan

July 15th, 2009 by Comment button No Comments »

On July 15, 2009, the Halton Regional Council met to hear public input and vote on the Infrastructure Staging Plan.

The proposed plan ensures that new development pays for growth, instead of burdening the existing taxpayers.

The Agenda of today’s meeting can be found here.

** UPDATE: See responses from Council members and Mattamy Homes to the unanimous vote at the bottom of this article **

The Issues

Developers agreed with Halton that new development should pay for new infrastructure but they differed on what that amount should be. There was a proposed fee of $7,888 which developers had been calling a “tax” and campaigned that it was not fair to charge the whole fee to new home builders.

At today’s meeting, developers proposed that this fee be shared between new home builders and other developers in Halton Region.

Input from the Public

Regional Chair Gary Carr had been asking for public input on the proposed plan before the July 15th meeting.

For our part, Oakville.com polled our visitors and more than 70% agreed that there should be an increase in fees to homebuilders to cover new development costs, instead of burdening existing taxpayers.

Several residents spoke at the meeting stating that they did not wish to see their taxes increase to support new home construction.

Liz Benneian from OakvilleGreen gave a spirited speech about the economics of new home development and gave her support for developers being responsible for new development costs so that there is no burden on existing taxpayers.

Employees and owners of several local businesses in Halton spoke about how their businesses has slowed, how they have laid off staff and how the proposed increased charges might slow down business even more.

President of Mattamy Homes, Dave Stewart, spoke about several issues. He first admitted that he was embarrassed about the “campaign” around this issue. He also sought to clarify that his company did not wish to avoid paying the proposed fees entirely, as might have been conveyed in a previous meeting, but instead his company wished to pay it’s “fair share” of the $7,888 fee.

Stewart also stated that Mattamy would even make security payments for the entire $7,888 fee if Council passed a motion with amendments whereby discussion would occur with developers and the public until September 30, 2009 to determine a fair allocation of the fee between developers.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton asked Stewart a series of questions in relation to what appeared to be Mattamy previously campaigning through media releases, emails and web site postings that the $7,888 fee not be approved by Council, then at today’s meeting stating that Mattamy was prepared to make security payments for the entire $7,888 fee and negotiate with Council over the next 60 days to determine what their “fair share” of the fee would be.

Burton asked the question of what happens if the the discussions until September 30, 2009 end in no agreement of the “fair share” of fees.

Council Votes

After more than six hours of public input and discussion, the Council voted unanimously on the proposed plan.

Oakville Councilors Alan Johnston and Jeff Knoll twitter about the results here and here.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton commented here.

Mattamy Homes released a statement after the vote which you can read here

The Minutes and Video from today’s meeting will be available on the Halton.ca web site, when available.

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