WINNIPEG – Premier Brian Pallister is hoping the City of Winnipeg can find some sort of alternative rather than imposing fees on residential and non-residential new developments.
A report is on the agenda at Wednesday’s meeting of Mayor Brian Bowman’s inner circle, but a vote on the matter is not expected for weeks after more consultations with the industry and other stakeholders.
City administrators suggest charging $10 per square foot on any new homes, $15 per square foot on retail and commercial builds, and $22 per square foot on office space.
Pallister voiced his concerns to reporters at the Manitoba Legislature Tuesday afternoon.
“I do believe there is danger in imposing new burdens on developers, new burdens on new homebuyers, young families trying to get off the ground with the purchase of their first home are going to face theoretically perhaps a $25,000 or $30,000 additional cost,” Pallister said.
Over the last few weeks, the question of whether the province can stop such a fee from being put in place has come up often.
Pallister said they are discussing that possibility with their legal representatives, but the administrative report from the City’s public service argues councilors do have the authority to put a growth fee in place.
Instead of a contentious fee, the premier believes the city can find savings within.
“It is not in the realm of possibility for the city to find savings in other areas rather than simply going to a new fee or tax,” he said.
There is even some unrest within the Executive Policy Committee at City Hall. Councilor Janice Lukes (St. Norbert) tells 680 CJOB she wants to see Mayor Bowman move on this.
“I can’t support a flat fee all across the board because it does not make sense in the way we should be growing our city,” Lukes said.
“I want to have more discussions with the development community and I want a clear understanding of what growth costs in different parts of the city because growth does not cost the same in every part of the city.”
That discussion is expected to heat up tomorrow with at least 12 delegates expected to address the mayor and his inner circle over the implantation of a development fee.