- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

Bremont homes, headquartered in Woodbridge, is planning a "new concept masterplanned community that will meld cutting edge design and technology with traditional family values" just east of the Owen Sound hospital. As the draft plan for Telfer Creek, up to 330 units of mixed residential use, went to Owen Sound city council tonight, it followed a letter from Bremont president Gary Breda. In it Mr. Breda suggested that the council's decision to build infrastructure in the southeast corner of the city and four years of a moratorium on Development Charges are responsible for new housing development. He wrote that "we" are "on the verge of more spectacular growth" but he warns that it will only happen if it doesn't get "derailed".

"Development charges are initially paid for by the developer but they are ultimately recovered from the new homebuyer by way of higher house prices...from a developer perspective, development charges are treated as another cost to build and are marked up and passed on to the buyer. ..This could put home ownership beyond the affordability of some buyers. If you have fewer buyers, you will have fewer sales which will slow down a development or even stop it from happening."

Breda also spoke to his perception of the impact of Development Charges on tenants.  "Development charges on new rental units are also a huge deterrent to new rental construction as the developer can only recoup the development charges through higher rents which takes longer. In short, development charges are inflationary taxes and lead to higher prices on new homes and higher rents for tenants.

At the public meeting on Development Charges,  Barry Kruisselbrink of Barry's Construction went so far as to recommend council create a permanent moratorium on Development Charges for all purpose-built rental housing.

Developers Peter van Dolder and Bill Stobbe also spoke at the public meeting, saying they believed  the proposed Development Charges would have a negative impact on the pace of growth in Owen Sound.

While spreading Owen Sound's expenses over a greater number of taxpayers, both residential and commercial, would have a moderating effect on property tax increases, no mention has been made of the scale of growth that can be reasonably anticipated.

"If Owen Sound is serious about growing our tax base and striving to become 30,000 by 2030, we need to reinstate the moratorium on development charges," says Mr. Breda.  The Grey County population forecast for Owen Sound which was used for both the County's Official Plan and the report for the City's proposed Development Charge by-law anticipates just over 23,000 residents in 2029 fewer than 24,000 residents by 2038.




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