AWARE Simcoe response to the provincial development charges review
PDF version: DC-review-response
AWARE Simcoe is a citizens’ group that works to protect water, the environment and health through transparency and accountability in government. AWARE Simcoe does not have the resources to prepare a lengthy and detailed review of the Development Charges Act but we offer the viewpoint of forward thinking citizens and taxpayers in Simcoe County.
The principle of “growth should pay for growth” is one widely accepted, even by the development industry. In practice though, growth almost never pays for growth. As municipalities grow they inevitably sink deeper into debt, costing taxpayers more and more money to finance the debt.
The context in which all planning takes place is one of assumed perpetual growth. Indeed, The Provincial Plan is called: Growth Plan for The Greater Golden Horseshoe. In spite of the rhetoric, no community is ever deemed to be complete and no level of population is ever enough. In our view this assumption is perverse and irrational. The continuous pursuit of ever increasing population and resource use will inevitably lead to social and economic collapse. Most politicians, planners and economists seem to assume, without knowledge or reflection that the unprecedented growth of the last 60 years can continue indefinitely. Simple arithmetic and a cursory review of the world’s desperate plight, with respect to both renewable and non-renewable resources, will show that it cannot. Climate change will only compound the problem. In our view the proper goal of all planning should be stability and sustainability.
In AWARE’s view, all development proposals should be viewed through the lens of “Net Benefit” to the community that is to be impacted. Developers are motivated by self-interest while politicians and officials usually assume a priori, that growth pays – while the facts show that generally, it doesn’t. As noted under question #9, Australia has developed a “Net Benefit” standard, which could serve as a useful model.
So, simply put, Development Charges should pay for all associated costs of that development, both short and long term.
We would also like to register our concern that this review process has been too
short, especially in light of the holiday season it included.
We are also attaching copy of the AWARE Simcoe Vision for Simcoe County brochure.