Ontario Bill 73 a possible threat to Milton’s future growth

December 7, 2015 by
Filed under: Uncategorized 

The Ontario Legislature recently had it’s 3rd reading of Bill 73 and has passed it.  The full details of the regulations haven’t been released yet, but the act may have some serious implications to Milton’s long term financial sustainability in relation to future growth.

Bill 73, Smart Growth of Our Communities Act is an amendment for changes to the provincial planning framework in relation to both Ontario’s Development Charges Act and Planning Act.

The changes are numerous and far reaching.  But the most impactful  change in regards to Milton is related to sub section 59.1 which is in relation to voluntary payments we request and receive from developers.    The current version of the Development Act strongly ties municipalities to what they can or can not charge developers for growth.  With Development charges levied no longer being able to fully cover the costs (roads, sewers, infrastructure, etc).   Currently only roughly 60% of the town’s costs are recoverable which would leave about 40% being a burden on the local tax payer.   For most municipalities with small incremental growth year over year that cost isn’t overbearing.  But with Milton over tripling in size since 2001 and with it being designated under the Places to Grow Act with continued fast paced growth, that cost would be unbearable and cause our debt levels to breach the allowed provincial maximums for a municipality.

Milton has been able to overcome the limitations on development charge maximums by negotiating with the development community voluntary payments from them along with additional parkland to allow us to pay for that future growth.  Without that cooperation we would not be able to reach the growth objectives set out for the town and region.

Bill 73 seems to imply that future voluntary payments or contributions from developers would be disallowed.   We have only been able to meet the province’s growth targets for the town by these negotiations of additional payments.   If they were no longer allowed, we’d either not be able to reach the provincial mandates growth targets, or trip the 25% maximum debt capacity levels, or see future tax increases average 8 to 10% per year for the foreseeable future which isn’t sustainable, year over year.

We are Between the devil and the deep blue sea currently.   We’ve submitted comments to the province hoping that the future regulations will account for our current situation but only time will tell if they’ve listened.

 

 

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