2220 Kingsway Amenities
2220 Kingsway — Where Are Our Amenities?
When a building site is rezoned for development, the developer is usually expected to pay a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC) either in cash or in kind. The purpose of CAC is to help address growth costs, area deficiencies, and/or other community needs and impacts. Cash CAC must be spent in the neighbourhood in which the development is occurring. The amount of the CAC is negotiated between the developer and city planners, and is related to the increase in the site’s value resulting from rezoning. CAC is allocated by senior city staff, and even planners working on the project may not be present. The development at 2220 Kingsway will generate a CAC of $4,011,720.
In addition, the developer pays a Development Cost Levy (DCL) of $12.50 per sq. ft. This money can be used only for growth costs associated with parks, childcare, social/non-profit housing, and engineering infrastructure. It can be spent citywide. The development at 2220 Kingsway will generate a DCL of $4,814,000.
The report that went to Council on March 12 details the allocation of CAC for 2220 Kingsway (the former Canadian Tire site). Westbank has offered to develop public space on the northwest corner (basically the entrance to the proposed grocery store) and on the southwest corner (a small park, supposedly the “plaza” mentioned in the Norquay Plan) at a cost of $811,720. In addition, they will build a traffic diverter at the corner of Gladstone and 30th Avenue at a cost of about $200,000. These are considered in-kind CAC contributions. The remaining $3,000,000 is to be
held in a Norquay Village Amenity Strategy Reserve and allocated to the future development of
community amenities to be located on the 2400 Kingsway site. (p. 9)
The proposed allocation of CAC is not acceptable for three reasons:
1 — The traffic diverter at Gladstone and East 30th Avenue is engineering infrastructure, and should be paid for out of DCLs as is usually done.
2 — We do not know how the proposed Reserve Fund will be spent. Will it be used, either directly or indirectly, to fund the social housing now being proposed for 2400 Kingsway? Social housing is a citywide social good, not a local community amenity.
3 — Money put into a Reserve Fund today will be worth less when it is spent unless the sum is tied to cost-of-construction indexing. This must happen.
A sum of at least $800,000 from the CAC generated by 2220 Kingsway should be allocated now to near-term redevelopment of Brock Park. The stretch of Kingsway between Nanaimo and Gladstone is the first area of Norquay to experience major densification. Three recent developments already built or approved along Kingsway (2220, 2239, 2300) are adding 835 new housing units within 400 metres of Brock Park. More is coming. This park needs improvement. The outline Public Benefits Strategy presented at the January 2013 Open House for Norquay contains a draft direction (panel 15) to “renew/improve Brock and Slocan Parks (e.g. similar to Norquay Park improvements).” (The cost of the Norquay Park renewal was $800,000.)
The remaining money held in the Reserve Fund should be placed in a segregated account that is tied to cost-of-construction indexing, and future Norquay community space should be specified as the amenity for which the money is being held. This money should be used to enhance the new community space that the Norquay Plan states as key policy for the 2400 Kingsway site. The funds should not enable the CAC generated by development of that site, which the Norquay Plan expects to pay the basic costs of the community space, to be redirected to any other purpose.
This posting prepared by Jeanette Jones