The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) will be considering the introduction of development charges.

At the June 9 UCPR Committee of the Whole meeting, Interim Director of Public Works Jérémie Bouchard noted he had previously discussed the benefits of development charges at a meeting of the  Public Works Committee and council.

Developers pay development charges to local governments to help cover the cost of new infrastructure and public services. They are intended to reduce the burden on local taxpayers.

Bouchard referred to significant development in the western UCPR communities and resulting amounts of road work accompanying them. He also referred to the costs of other UCPR services such as paramedics and the Larose Forest.

As a result of new development, significant intersection upgrades are being made in Russell, Limoges, Casselman, and Rockland.

“These are large sums of money subsidized by taxpayers,” said Bouchard.

He noted some municipalities have development charges and said Russell Township is using theirs to finance part of an intersection reconstruction project with the UCPR.

Warden Stéphane Sarrazin noted local school boards already have development charges.

“It’s something for us to consider,” he added.

Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux commented that the City of Ottawa’s development charges are double what Russell’s are.

“That could be a significant savings for the United Counties taxation budget,” Leroux said.

Bouchard explained there are significant needs for road improvement in the west due to development, and without development charges at the UCPR level, taxes are paying for them, and it could lead to a reduction of road work in the east due to the distribution of the budget, but with the east paying for the work in the west.

Bouchard said he was looking for direction on including a development charges study in the 2022 budget.

La Nation Mayor François St-Amour and Casselman Mayor Lafleur both agreed there should be studies.

East Hawkesbury Mayor Robert Kirby asked how much a development charges study might cost. Bouchard was not entirely sure.

Director of Planning and Forestry Louis Prévost said a development charges study was done in 2005 but not implemented.

Leroux wondered about using provincial efficiency grant funds to pay for study.

Council agreed to allow the Department of Public Works to consider including a development charges study in its 2022 budget and to revisit the 2005 study.