Communities will pay more so wealthy developers can make more under the provincial government’s Community Benefits Charge (CBC). The new planning scheme, which replaces the ways cities like Toronto receive funds from developers to support residents’ quality of life, appears to break the promise the province made to municipalities that any changes would be revenue neutral.
Perhaps most concerning is the Ford government’s proposal that if municipalities move forward with a CBC it would lose the ability to require parkland from developers. The Parkland Dedication provision has allowed the City of Toronto to provide much needed green space for local residents. Without the dedication provision, it will be very difficult to purchase new park space in many Toronto communities due to soaring land prices.
The Ford government has also allowed for developers to recover interest on levies under the CBC in the event of a successful appeal at the Land use Planning Appeals Tribunal (LPAT). This provision will provide the building industry with even more leverage in development application negotiations.
The Community Benefits Charge looks like another Doug Ford giveaway to his developer supporters, at the expense of the people of Ontario and their communities. The CBC does not provide a single new tool to increase the supply of affordable housing, despite claims from the province and their friends in the development industry. Municipalities will see their ability to provide services such as parks, daycares, recreation facilities, and libraries reduced. These amenities are essential to ensuring that the communities most affected by rapid growth are able to enjoy a high quality of life.
I encourage residents to write to the Minister of Municipal Affairs to let him know that you expect the province to uphold their promise that any changes to community benefits would be revenue neutral so that municipalities can continue to provide libraries, parks, recreation centres, affordable childcare, housing and other amenities that you care about.