Guelph’s exploring new ways to fund community services and facilities

Community benefits charge and Parkland Dedication Bylaw coming to Council on April 13

Guelph, Ont., March 31, 2022 – As part of its long-term capital growth revenue planning, the City of Guelph is considering implementing a community benefits charge to provide additional funding for City facilities and services like parking, arts and culture, and parks. In addition, City staff is updating the existing Parkland Dedication Bylaw to align with recent changes to provincial legislation.

Community benefits charge

“The City is exploring a new revenue option to help fund critical community services and facilities in Guelph such as arts programs, museums, events spaces and parks,” explains Greg Clark, manager, Financial Strategy and Long-term Planning. “We’re working towards a September 18 deadline to implement a community benefits charge which would also provide partial funding for creating parking as development charges can’t continue to fund this.”

A community benefits charge would cover capital-related costs of public service needs associated with new growth which aren’t covered by development charges and parkland dedication.

Under the Planning Act, any municipality in Ontario can create and collect a community benefits charge for new residential buildings or structures that are a minimum of five storeys high and have 10 or more residential units. The charge cannot exceed four per cent of the property’s land value on the day before a building permit is issued. The community benefits charge is paid as a one-time fee by the property developer or builder.

Should the City choose to procced with a four per cent community benefits charge, it is estimated to add $547,700 in revenue each year.

Exploring new tools, like the community benefits charge, enables the City to provide needed and valued services for the community while remaining fiscally responsible. The community benefits charge is part of the City’s long-term financial strategy to accommodate the provincially mandated population growth of 203,000 people by 2051.

Parkland Dedication Bylaw updates

Guelph’s Parkland Dedication Bylaw helps the City to achieve its park needs by requiring developers to transfer land to the City for parks and/or provide cash-in-lieu for the City to purchase land for future park space.

Recent changes to provincial legislation require municipalities wanting to continue using the alternative rate outlined in the Planning Act to create a Park Plan and review their existing Parkland Dedication Bylaw. The proposed Park Plan is going to Council for discussion as part of the April 4 Committee of the Whole meeting.

Staff is proposing minor changes to the current Parkland Dedication Bylaw to improve clarity about exemptions and the bylaw’s application to commercial development or redevelopment. Changes to the method of calculation or introduction of new exemptions is out of scope for this policy update. Updates to the bylaw must be completed by September 18, 2022, when the existing bylaw expires.

Have your say

Read the staff report to review the details about the proposed community benefits charge and proposed updates to the Parkland Dedication Bylaw. Watch or participate in the special Council meeting virtually at guelph.ca/live or in person in Council Chambers on Wednesday, April 13 at 6 p.m. If you wish to submit written comments or speak to City Council about the bylaw changes you may register as a delegation at guelph.ca/delegations or contact the City Clerk’s Office at 519-837-5603 or email [email protected] no later than Friday, April 8 at 10 a.m.

Members of the public, developers and builders can submit comments or questions online when community engagement for the community benefits charge opens on April 19. More details will be shared on haveyoursay.guelph.ca in April.

Next steps

Should Council decide to pursue a community benefits charge, the draft bylaw and strategy will be presented to City Council for approval in July with the updated Parkland Dedication Bylaw. If approved, both the community benefits charge and updated Parkland Dedication Bylaw would come into effect on September 18, 2022.

Media contact

Greg Clark, Manager Financial Strategy and Long-term Planning
Finance
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2713
[email protected]