A Montreal borough sticks its hands in renovators' pockets for five-figure "park fees"
The CBC reports that Plateau-Mont Royal, a Montreal borough, is asking renovating homeowners to pay a fee worth 10 per cent of the value of their land if they renovate more than 35 per cent of their properties.
March 5, 2014 by Steve Payne
If you’re tired of hearing politicians talk about “revenue tools” (i.e., extra taxes from your hard labour), how would you like to be a renovator working in the Montreal borough of Plateau Mont-Royal?
Today, the CBC reports (link to their online story here) that Montreal’s city council passed a bylaw affecting the Plateau Mont-Royal area, in November, that effectively charges homeowners 10 per cent of the value of their land if they renovate more than 35 per cent of their buildings’ (mostly triplexes) facades, load-bearing walls and floors.
Montreal architecture firm La Shed, currently working on a project in the municipality, says they are very close to being hit with a $23,000 “park fee” on the project.
According to the new bylaw, a renovation of greater than 35 per cent in the borough will be treated as a complete demolition, and taxed accordingly.
Oh, and it’s not a renovation tax. Not even a renovation “revenue tool.” It’s a “park fee.”
“The park fees capture some of the wealth for the public interest,” said city councillor Alex Norris, according to the CBC report, “to ensure that we have a source of revenue to improve our parks.”
We thought the sources of revenues to improve parks in Canadian cities was historically done through municipal taxes. Apparently, it should now be paid for people that want to do extensive renovations.
“We don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that a certain amount of that wealth you’re generating should return to the public,” Norris said, apparently with a straight face. How the owner of the property has generated any wealth at all, if they want to live in their newly-renovated space rather than selling it, was not addressed by the councillor.