Why lowering development charges in Mt Dennis is a bad idea

Frances Nunziata has asked the city to look into dropping development charges in Mount Dennis. However much the community needs development, there is only one justification: it’s Mount Dennis’ time at the trough.

That’s not much of a justification.

The facts are simple: new buildings have to pay for the infrastructure they require, and their charges don’t cover the cost. Taxpayers pick up the balance. The money goes to things like sewers, hydro, daycare and libraries.

If Mount Denizens don’t pay, Torontonains must. On what principle should they subsidize homebuilders and buyers in Mount Dennis? Your correspondent can think of only one: everyone else has had some pork, so we should get some too.

That, reader, is no way to run a city. I’m reminded of my kids: when one sneaks a chocolate bar or some screen time, the other feels a profound injustice if she, too, didn’t get away with something rotten. I admit, there’s no reasoning with them, and sometimes it’s easier just to let two wrongs make bedtime.

But I don’t kid myself: it’s bad parenting, and it’s bad politics.

Worse, the benefits won’t go to Mount Dennis. A little economics goes a long way: the development savings will be split between home builders and buyers. The proportion depends on how much people will want the new properties; if, as I suspect, Mount Dennis is a newly-hot neighbourhood, the builder’s will pocket the lion’s share.

And it gets worse: because someone has to pay, current residents will be left picking up the their share of the tab for their new neighbours.



Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.