Developers say increased Plympton-Wyoming water fees a significant concern

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Developers are balking as Plympton-Wyoming considers more than doubling the cost to connect homes to the water system .

But councillors say the proposed new rates are fair.

The proposed new bylaw will see sewer and water frontage fees for new homes jump from $1,800 to $4,500.

Representatives from three local developers, attending a public meeting on the hike, July 27, expressed dismay at the price jump saying it puts them at a disadvantage when compared to neighbouring municipalities.

Some of the builders, who have had subdivision projects in the works for some time, had calculated constructions costs based on the lower figure.

Jason Fleury of Development Engineering said the increase has “significant impact” on new development. Fleury represents Allan Developments, a company that is planning the construction of 126 units in Bluepoint.

“It’s a significant hit all at once,” he says, adding the increase raises the cost of the Bluepoint development by $250,000.

Developers Brad Zantingh and Carl Kongas, who will also see their development costs jump, asked council if a way could be found to grandfather the frontage fees increase to aid projects that were already in the works.

Council has decided cash from the new fee structure will be put into reserves to pay for future repairs and upgrades. Reserves have been depleted due to upgrades and King Street improvements were cited as one of the major costs.

“It burdens future development,” Kongas says, adding he hopes the charges can be phased in.

However council is unanimous in supporting the hike.

“You wouldn’t be building those houses today if it weren’t for the system,” Mayor Lonny Napper told the group, adding across-the-board rate increases level the playing field for all water users in Plympton-Wyoming.

“We think $4,500 is cheap to hook up to the water,” Councilor Ben Dekker told the developers. “You’re using all of the infrastructure.”

“You have to pay for the bus when you go on the bus,” Councilor Ron Schenk added.

The two separate water systems in Plympton-Wyoming were amalgamated earlier this year.

Plympton-Wyoming CAO Carolyn Tripp said staff is examining how the new frontage costs can be phased in and a report will go council in August.

Tripp said the bylaw may also be changed so that frontage fees will be charged when developers apply for building permits, as is the practice with most municipalities in the province.

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