Making the case for using development cost charges for climate change mitigation Ng, Polly
It is clear that there is a need for climate change mitigation and that local governments can provide and are providing this service. In British Columbia, local governments have a mandate to reduce GHG emissions and provincial policy directions have already made the connection between DCCs and climate change mitigation. The ability to waive existing DCCs can hypothetically create incentives for developers to reduce the GHG emissions of their projects and buildings. In reality, no local government has to date used this tool because the overall incentive may be too small to adequately incent action. As importantly, reducing DCCs means reduced revenue for local government, as development cost charges are monies that local governments levy on new developments to help recoup some of the capital costs resulting from development (Curran 2010). Rather than waiving DCCs for roads, sewers, drainage, water, and parks for climate change mitigation, a potentially more powerful and practical idea is to create a new DCC to fund local government initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A climate change mitigation DCC could be a strong fiscal mechanism for assisting local governments’ mitigation efforts and would add rather than detract from local government revenue. Hence, the central objectives of this project are: • To develop a legally defensible concept of a development cost charge for climate change mitigation that meets the requirements of the rational nexus test; and • To develop a technically feasible methodology for establishing a program and calculating rates for a climate change mitigation development cost charge, using the Surrey City Centre area as a case study.
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