OPINION: Open your ears


Why the heck did the municipality opt to place such a huge increase on development charges a year ago?

We asked the same question then and nothing has changed. In August of 2022, council, acting on the recommendation of administration, opted to hike development charges by more than $17,000.

Five years ago, with home prices spiralling upward and house construction firing on all cylinders, one could understand the desire for such a sizeable increase in development charges. It is an excellent way to help pay for the expansion of needed infrastructure to support the community. More roads, more water consumption, more sewer use, etc. comes with a price.

Put in that increase five years ago, or even three, and it’s questionable whether the home builders would have batted an eye. 

Force a steep price increase in the cost of new homes at a time when the real estate market has seen a dip in the number of sales and a drop in home prices is nonsensical.

Home builders realize development charges needed to be increased, but they take issue with the size of the hike. What’s worse, they’ve had no chance to speak to council directly. A deputation read by a member of administration is no substitute for face-to-face information sharing.

When council makes such decisions, it certainly appears as a willing group to simply rubberstamp most everything administration shovels in front of them.

Our councillors – the people you voted into office (well, those of you who did vote) – answer to you, not administration. 

Apparently, it takes a very vocal and collective effort to get them to sway away from administration’s desires. Look no further than the eradication of the temporary ban on clear cutting in Chatham-Kent, which council gunned down recently while staring in the face of farming and rural property groups and individuals. Those folks pay attention, and vote, so council, especially rural members, sided with them.

Home builders do have clout. The construction industry is a huge employer locally. They deserve to be heard.


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