It’s a slight uptick from the projected 7.7 per cent increase to Muskoka’s development charges.
At Monday’s District Council meeting, councillors approved an increase of 7.9 per cent. The district’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee approved an increase of 7.7 per cent in October. Suzanne Olimer, Muskoka’s Commissioner of Finance and Corporate Services, told council the difference comes because of a slight change to the inflation index.
Olimer said that a major factor in the increase is the cost of construction, such as a 13 per cent raise in the cost of road paving materials in 2021, and that rates in Muskoka are already discounted 50 per cent.
Councillor Allen Edwards said people moving to the area “need to pay their fair share,” adding that he has family in the construction industry and is supporting the motion regardless. Councillor Phil Harding said despite the cost of plywood going up, people are still building homes, and that “adding a bit more [to development charges] to protect all of Muskoka” is worth it.
Councillors Heidi Lorenz, Don Smith, and Sandy Cairns voted against the motion.
“My big concern is we do want building, we’ve heard a number of times that there’s a domino effect going on, and not just with affordable housing but housing in general,” said Lorenz. “I’m not sure I can agree to this, only because I do think it might be a surprise to a lot of people.”
“I have difficulty with putting up rates when we’re trying to encourage residential development,” said Smith.
Olimer added that projects with an application submitted in 2021 can request to not be subjected to the increase, as long as construction begins within two years.