WINNIPEG – The debate on proposed growth fees in Winnipeg continues to rage on between the Mayor and the development industry.
Brian Bowman spent 90 minutes Monday morning chatting with more than a dozen developers and business-types at City Hall, but only agreed to continue talking.
“There is obviously a desire to expedite things, but we want to make sure we are having a constructive dialogue and we’ll obviously assess the dialogue going forward,” Bowman told reporters afterwards.
This comes on the heels of a report from Hemson Consulting that shows growth is not paying for growth in Winnipeg and some sort of fee on development is needed or else everyone in the city will have to pay for the wear and tear on city services.
Bowman’s support of a development fee is unchanged, while the developers continue to balk at the idea fearing it would drive builders out of the city.
“Our major concern is that there is an attempt to couch a tax on new development as a growth charge when in fact it is source of money that is to be used to balance the existing fiscal problem in Winnipeg and the 2017 budget,” said Eric Vogan, vice president of Community development with Qualico who have already halted some of their development in the Sage Creek area in response to the idea of such a fee.
Bowman is looking to introduce a development fee as soon as possible, but would not commit to introducing one in the 2017 budget.
“We now will work as collaboratively as possible while respecting the fact that not everybody in the room is ultimately going to agree on everything,” Bowman said.
Ultimately, city council has the final say introducing such a fee.