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Calgary Ends the 'Sprawl Subsidy'

An op-ed by the mayor of Calgary, Canada celebrates the adoption of a new off-site levy that will change the financing formula for new development and the necessary infrastructure that comes with it.
January 19, 2016, 11am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi provides an op-ed for the Calgary Herald to announce the City Council's approval of a new ordinance that enacts an off-site levy. According to Mayor Nenshi, the new law "will fundamentally change how we pay for growth in this city, mostly ending what I’ve been calling a sprawl subsidy."

Mayor Nenshi explains the need for the new law in the broader context of Calgary's growth—130,000 new residents in the past four years—and the extra costs Calgary residents have to cover for infrastructure as a result. To conclude, Mayor Nenshi summarizes the consequences of the new off-site levy:

This means that we have fundamentally ended the development subsidy. For the first time, growth in all parts of the city will now compete on a level playing field, allowing for the market to work and homebuyers to see the true costs of their homes. It also means that, pending further council decision, we will be able to mitigate future increases in your water and wastewater bills.

For traditional reporting on the City Council's approval of the new levy, see an earlier article by Annalise Klingbeil and Trevor Howell.

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Published on Thursday, January 14, 2016 in Calgary Herald
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