The Debate Over Winnipeg Growth Fees

The city of Winnipeg has been in the spotlight recently due to the desire to implement growth fees. This is going to cost developers plenty of extra money for the homes they create. In return, those costs are likely going to be passed along to the buyers. The issue isn’t one that developers or property owners are in favor of.

These are fees the city is going to charge due to the impact of growth on the area. Winnipeg is a delightful place to reside. There is a demand for homes due to the number of people moving to the area. The goal is to generate money to be able to build Winnipeg for the future. This starts with the new structures as well as funds to fix up the older ones.

Approval

For several months there have been meetings about the issue of Winnipeg growth fees. Some of them involved talking with top consultants and experts regarding economic growth. Others involved listening to developers and construction company owners to find out why they are against it.

Even though the issue of Winnipeg growth fees has stirred up mixed emotions, it was approved. The board voted 10 to 6 in favor of it. The new bylaw states beginning May 1st of 2017 specific areas of Winnipeg will be charged approximately $500 per 100 square feet of space they build on. The future increase of the growth fees is capped at 5%.
The estimated revenue from these fees is between $7 million and $10 million for 2017. The city of Winnipeg says these funds will be used within a complex regulatory scheme. They aren’t going to be in the general fund where tax revenue funds are kept until they are allocated for various projects around Winnipeg.

The plan is for the funds collected in 2017 to be allocated in 2018 for industries, commercial businesses, educational entities, and office buildings. The area of focus would be the mature downtown area of Winnipeg. Finding a way to update this area has been a topic of concern for several years.

Next, the funds would start to be allocated to older neighborhoods where there are abandoned homes that need to be fixed up or torn down and replaced. That segment of the funding is planned for 2019.

The board will determine which projects are approved for funds from the Winnipeg growth fees and how much they will be allocated. They will also re-evaluate their structure for the growth fees and how they are spent after 3 years.

Court Challenges

The legal case to fight this stems from developers, construction companies, and the Manitoba Home Builders Association They don’t believe the city of Winnipeg has a legal right to impose such growth fees. They feel it goes against the information found in the City of Winnipeg Charter.

Winnipeg mayorHowever, legal counsel for the city of Winnipeg states they believe they do have the authority to impose such fees. This is based on their review of various court cases where such government fees were able to be collected.

The debate over Winnipeg growth fees will likely have to be settled in the Supreme Court system. The legal challenges this issue covers have plenty of backing. It isn’t going to be an easy fight but it is one many feel is very important. They want the issue to be addressed and to see changes.

It is going to be very interesting to see what the outcome is for the Winnipeg growth fees. The outcome will likely affect many other locations who are watching this issue unfold before they consider making similar fees mandatory.