Downtown still requires development charge exemption


Funding section revised Feb. 24

I’m also speaking on Monday to City Council’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee about continuing to development charge exemptions as an incentive for downtown development.

Incentives still needed

Yes, the revitalization of downtown Kitchener is in full swing. But now is not the time to remove incentives for development there. The city needs to continue making a strong effort to finish this turnaround.

As a downtown resident, I fully support extending the exemption on development charges for the core that is before you today.

Do the numbers support option two?

Since the proposal is for the extension to go until 2019 after the LRT is running, I believe this to be the last time this incentive should be required. So at first, I believed it to be prudent for Council to end funding the exemption with taxes and select option 2 which exempts the charges without being funded by taxes.

Upon reflection, I’d like to see some solid numbers before supporting this option. A solid tax-revenue business case can indicate whether option one or option two is better. Do you have that information?

Don’t pit suburbs against downtown

Please don’t turn this decision into downtown versus the suburbs. Yes, strong, healthy neighbourhoods are required right across Kitchener. As the revitalization of downtown Kitchener moves towards completion, the city can turn its attention to how to the health of its neighbourhoods.

Expanded area is desirable

I’m pleased that the option to expand the area exempted to land within a 10 minute walk is not recommended. People living in that zone are unaware of this potential change and have not been adequately informed or consulted. Until I read this report, as an member of the Central Frederick Neighbourhood Association I had no idea this option was even being considered.

I strongly support the proposal to extend the official downtown core east to Betzner.

East downtown Kitchener requires some love and attention if it is to be vibrant and provide shopping, food and services required by people living in its residential areas. In fact, it could use its own Community Improvement Plan.

Right now that’d mean a western boundary for east downtown at Cedar Street, but there are good reasons in this case to extend the downtown core’s boundary east. The most obvious is that there is a large development proposed for just outside the current boundary. This development finally fulfills the promise made when the Market was built that it’d spur redevelopment in east downtown. That’s enough reason for Council to support adding this area.

Hopefully then we’d see the project be a catalyst for enhancements to east downtown as developers see the opportunities presented by its mixed use designation.

Let me suggest another reason to extend the boundary.

The name of the area is the Market District. That name implies that the market is roughly in the centre of the district. Yet it is right on the eastern border of the downtown core. Expanding the district east fits the goal of having the market be a catalyst for the economic development around it.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: