Contract for development charges study awarded

ELORA – Centre Wellington is undergoing an update to its Development Charges Background Study.

At the July 29 council meeting, managing director of corporate services Dan Wilson said the township retained Watson and Associates in 2017-18 to complete a five-year update on the township’s development charges study and bylaw.

However, since then a number of master plans have been approved that need to be incorporated: the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and Long-Term Water Supply Master Plan.

Another reason for the update is that the Ontario government’s More Homes More Choice Act (Bill 101) is changing the way development charges are used. The regulations will be in place on Jan. 1, 2020 and will need to take effect by Jan. 1, 2021.

Included under the Development Charges Act, according to Wilson’s report, are: roads, public works, fire protection, studies (hard services), water and wastewater.

These services, Wilson said, will be included in development charges beyond 2020. The other “soft” services previously included under the act will be recoverable through the Community Benefits Charge through the Planning Act, in conjunction with cash in lieu of parkland.

These “soft” services include parks and recreation and studies (soft services).

When the township completes a study to calculate the new Community Benefits Charge, impacts on the Parks, Recreation and Culture Master Plan will be evaluated.

“We’re hoping through this update to the DC study we’re able to implement or show the implementation results of the Transportation Master Plan and the Long-Term Water Supply Master Plan,” Wilson said.

“We suggest that we exclude the impact of the Parks and Rec and Culture Master Plan … given that in the next year we’ll be doing an entirely separate study to transition those costs into what we’re calling a community benefits charge, which would be under the Planning Act rather than the Development Charges Act.”

Councillor Ian MacRae asked whether developers would still be allocating the same amount of funds through the Community Benefits Charge as through development charges.

Wilson said the regulations clarifying that are expected later this year.

“The province is communicating to Ontario municipalities that they intend to keep the same funding source to municipalities to ensure growth pays for growth but we will actually see what the actual results are when we get the regulation,” he said.

The township is able to award the Development Charges Background study update to Watson and Associates without going through an RFP because its purchasing bylaw allows for sole sourcing when the additional work pertains to a current or recently completed study, Wilson explained.

“So as Watson and Associates just in the last year completed our Development Charges Study we’re able to retain them to do an update to that study.”

The study is anticipated to cost $30,000 and is funded through development charges (90%) and the general capital reserve (10%).

Councillor Bob Foster asked why the job couldn’t be done by municipal staff, as several are accountants.

“The development charge study process is fairly complicated and it is a process that is currently appealable,” Wilson said. “Staff do recommend using experts that do development charge studies on a daily basis.”

Township CAO Andy Goldie added Watson is actually sitting on the provincial review committee for the changes to the regulation.

A motion awarding the contract to Watson and Associates passed with just Foster opposed.