Statement on Bill 23

Councillor Rawlson King made a statement concerning Bill 23 during the November 30, 2022 Ottawa City Council meeting.

 

Your Worship:

Bill 23 is bad legislation.

The newly passed law puts at risk Ottawa’s ability to build and maintain the infrastructure that our residents expect.

The bill simply transfers the cost of growth from developers to residents.

By eliminating development charges, the province has put us into an impossible situation.

We will not have enough revenue to pay for our infrastructure needs.

Bill 23 will deplete the city’s budget and cost Ottawa over $60 million in lost estimated revenue per year by 2025.

These are the much-needed dollars that we would use to build parks, maintain roads, and improve public transit.

Under the new bill, the city will not have the financial resources to provide local infrastructure to facilitate new development, leading to both increased costs for taxpayers as well as less infrastructure.

As we know, development charges are earmarked for capital projects, such as bridges, fire stations and community and recreational facilities that allow our city to grow.

Bill 23 eliminates those development charges purportedly to incentivize developers. But we know that all this bill does is take money earmarked to improve the community and gives it directly to developers without any guarantee that it will lower the cost of housing, increase the tempo of construction, or result in new affordable housing.

We know market conditions determine the cost of housing, not the cost to build.  Eliminating development charges won’t reduce housing prices but will only guarantee that the City will have to examine the starkest choice between exponential property tax increases or reductions in capital projects and city services to make up revenue shortfall.

Bill 23 is also an affront to residents since it removes their capacity to meaningfully engage in a fair and transparent urban planning process due to the law’s removal of planning file considerations.

The new legislation will also result in the loss of built heritage protections and will facilitate sprawl in ecologically vulnerable areas such as wetlands.

While we can all agree on the need for more affordable homes, it is evident that this legislation will not achieve this goal.  The cost to the environment, to the municipal finance structure, and most importantly to our democratic rights is too high a price to pay.

This legislation needs to be opposed vigorously and therefore I am in full support of this motion.

Thank you, Mayor.

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