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No rebate for company fighting regional charges

By Dave Flaherty/The Oshawa Express

The region will not credit a local developer for what it calls unfair water and sewer development charges.

Jennifer Meader, a lawyer with WeirFoulds LLP, representing Valiant Property Management, spoke to councillors in regards to charges paid on two self-storage facilities the company is constructing at 425 Taunton Road West in Oshawa.

According to Meader, Valiant paid $247,874 in development charges on the buildings, including $135,553 in water and sanitary sewer charges.

While Meader said her client has no dispute with paying charges dedicated to regional roads and transit services, she said it’s erroneous for them to be charged for sewer and water, and they should be refunded.

“[These buildings] do not use and will never require regional sewers and water,” she said

While these services are available to the buildings in question, Meader said this fact should be “of no consequence” as to whether Valiant should pay development charges.

Citing the region’s bylaw, Meader claims such charges are imposed when a development causes an increased need for service or greater capital costs, and in her view, this isn’t the case in Valiant’s situation.

“This doesn’t meet the requirements of the act,” Meader said. “It’s already serviced by the water and sewer supply.”

Oshawa Councillor Dan Carter was convinced by Meader’s arguments and spoke in favour of providing a refund.

“I truly believe that they do have a case. [The company] has done a great deal of investment not only in our community, but communities across Durham Region,” Carter said. “It’s unfair based on what I am seeing in our own bylaw.”

The region’s Development Charges Complaint Committee previously heard from the company and ruled the development charges were justified.

Oshawa Councillor Bob Chapman, a member of the committee, explained they made their ruling based on the region’s policies.

“The interpretation of the bylaw is most important…that’s why we made the decision we did,” Chapman stated.

Oshawa Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki said there is “no give and take or wiggle room.”

“It is what it is. It’s spelled out quite readily. We’ve dealt with it according to the bylaw.”

Regional director of finance Jim Clapp told council it’s not a matter of simply giving an exemption to the company, but they would have to alter the bylaw entirely.

Council eventually supported the decision of the Development Charges Compliant Committee.

Meader indicated she may discuss taking the issue to the Ontario Municipal Board with her client.