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Sudbury cuts commercial development charges by 50%

Council hopes cut will attract more commercial development
(AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The City of Greater Sudbury will reduce its development charges for industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) development by 50 per cent.

City council made the decision following a lengthy debate over the issue on June 11.

Council voted to scrap a resolution that would have seen residential development charges cut by the same amount while freezing that rate for the next five years with no annual inflation.

The recently passed provincial Bill 108 raised contention throughout the evening’s debate when it came to the hard numbers.

Premier Doug Ford’s More Homes, More Choice Act 2019 was passed on June 6 and will result in provinically mandated reductions to development charges, in addition to the ones that the city has already passed.

Ward 7 Coun. Mike Jakubo was the most vocally opposed to reducing residential development charges, indicating that he was not comfortable with a blanket structure and would have preferred a more strategic and measured approach when it came to development charges for residential buildings.

“Our growth numbers are fairly low," Jakubo said. "I just don’t really see the benefit in a reduction of residential development charges."

Council voted that no changes will be made to residential development charges, with Jakubo and a number of his colleagues stressing the importance of ICI development in strengthening the city’s economy.

More debate arose when Ward 4 Coun. Geoff McCausland presented an amendment to development charge changes along the city’s main nodes and corridors – areas like the Kingsway, Barrydowne, Lasalle, and the downtown.

McCausland presented an amendment that would see a reduction in development charges to residential development in these specified areas within 100 metres of the main nodes and corridors.

This was met with some raised eyebrows, specifically from Ward 10 Coun. Fern Cormier.

“Those areas are mostly zoned as commercial," Cormier said. "The residential units in those areas have been there since the 1960s. You don’t see very much residential development in those areas."

After some debate, council voted for a 50 per cent reduction in development charges for multi-unit (more than four) buildings, in an effort to promote building upwards more than outwards in the city’s more densely built-up areas.