BILD AL­BERTA UN­HAPPY WITH BILL 32

StarMetro Calgary - - SPECIAL FEATURE: NEW HOMES - Kathy McCormick

The group that rep­re­sents more than 1,800 busi­nesses in the res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion in­dus­try in Al­berta is “shocked and dis­ap­pointed” by the lat­est piece of pro­vin­cial leg­is­la­tion in­tro­duced last week.

Bill 32, City Char­ters and Fis­cal Frame­work Act, has the po­ten­tial to push the cost of hous­ing up dra­mat­i­cally in a time when the pro­vin­cial economy is al­ready de­pressed, the Build­ing In­dus­try and Land De­vel­op­ment As­so­ci­a­tion (BILD) Al­berta said late last week.

“Bill 32 cre­ates con­fu­sion in the in­dus­try, erodes trans­parency in how pub­lic funds are spent and al­lows Ed­mon­ton and Cal­gary to add tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to the costs of a new home,” reads a press re­lease sent out by BILD Al­berta, ti­tled “BILL 32 - Ham­mers the in­dus­try and hurts Al­ber­tans.”

The bill, which en­sures the cities of Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton will have more cer­tainty of mu­nic­i­pal fund­ing based on pro­vin­cial rev­enues start­ing in 2022 and was lauded by mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments, could also al­low mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties to en­force dif­fer­ent levies on in­fras­truc­ture projects which would ul­ti­mately be paid by con­sumers.

“There’s not a lot of clar­ity yet at­tached to the reg­u­la­tions which could im­pact af­ford­abil­ity of hous­ing,” says Car­men Wy­ton, CEO of BILD Al­berta.

“At the end of the day, we know that with ev­ery $10,000 of added costs, 20,000 peo­ple are pushed out of the mar­ket and un­able to af­ford a home.”

As an ex­am­ple, she says, in­clu­sion­ary zon­ing, which would mean a de­vel­oper would be re­spon­si­ble for adding a num­ber of af­ford­able units to ev­ery multi-fam­ily com­plex, has been in­cluded in the bill.

“It’s a pol­icy that seems right; it seems smart, but based on what they orig­i­nally thought was a good idea, it can add $4,800 to $10,000 to each home­owner’s costs in that com­plex - and it could be much higher.

“It’s those un­in­tended con­se­quences that we are con­cerned about. We need to en­sure Al­ber­tans can con­tinue to qual­ify for mort­gages.”

Ad­di­tion­ally, the res­i­den­tial con­struc­tion in­dus­try is a huge en­gine of the Al­berta economy, and in a time when the prov­ince is suf­fer­ing, it’s es­sen­tial to keep it healthy.

“Un­less peo­ple are able to buy homes, there will be sig­nif­i­cant job losses in our in­dus­try and that, in turn, sig­nif­i­cantly af­fects the economy of Al­berta.”

The as­so­ci­a­tion is lob­by­ing for more con­sul­ta­tion with in­dus­try be­fore the bill passes.

BILD Al­berta was shut out of dis­cus­sions on the fund­ing agree­ment, Wy­ton says.

“Bill 32 was put to­gether with­out in­dus­try at the ta­ble in any mean­ing­ful way,” says Wy­ton. “We want to work col­lab­o­ra­tively. Af­ter all, ev­ery­one is work­ing for home­own­ers and work­ing so com­mu­ni­ties con­tinue to de­velop.”

She’s call­ing for an af­ford­abil­ity and im­pact as­sess­ment on the con­se­quences of the bill and BILD Al­berta is work­ing to meet with the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment.

ISTOCK

The new bill can cost home­own­ers $4,800 to $10,000 more.

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