Sunderland arena project drives up proposed increase to development charges

A $3-million increase to the estimated cost of expanding the Sunderland Memorial Arena could have a significant impact on the Township’s development charge rates.

A Township consultant had previously reccommended that council double development charges for the commercial and industrial sectors and institute a 66-percent increase to residential fees. But that has changed following a comprehensive report from Works Director Nick Colucci on the Sunderland arena plans, which now carry a price tag of $6.9 million.

Proposed by the village’s Lions Club, which has offered up $500,000 for the project, the renovations were previously estimated at $3.9 million.

While council intends on applying for a grant from the provincial and federal governments – which could finance nearly three-quarters of the project – roughly $3.2 million for arena upgrades has been carried into the calculations for development charges. And almost all of it will be funded through residential rates.

As it currently stands, the study suggests that the charges for residential development more than double though council has yet to make a final decision after hosting a public meeting last week.

During a presentation back in February, consultant Craig Binning told local politicians that the study was conducted in collaboration with Township staff and the rate was “informed” by the municipality’s capital program for the next decade, stretching from 2019 to 2028.

The study also includes $1.5 million for a new works yard, $1.4 million for park improvements, $1.3 million for new fire department vehicles, $275,000 for a new tandem truck and $250,000 for the Cannington Curling Club.

But future roadwork is putting the “biggest upwards pressure” on the rates moving forward, Binning said.

Of the $19 million worth of work that is slated to be completed over the coming years, more than $8 million will be funded through development charges.

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