Category Archives: Infrastructure

Who should pay for infrastructure?

No doubt you’ve heard about the “Smoking Gun” video of a November meeting hosted by Cal Wenzel, founder of Shane Homes, where Wenzel presents a plan to defeat select members of city council who are perceived to be anti-development.

Some in the housing industry have been clashing with the city over growth and who should be responsible for infrastructure.

Mayor Nenshi, in an interview on CBC this morning, says he is against urban sprawl and corporate welfare, implying that developers, and ultimately new home owners, don’t pay the true costs of their infrastructure, and are getting a free ride on the backs of the taxpayers.

When the city pays for infrastructure, it distorts the playing field.  Rather than making inner-city more attractive because the infrastructure is already there, it basically subsidizes the developers(and their private jets and big profits, as Nenshi pointed out),  and contributes to urban sprawl. Should developers be paying for the true costs of the infrastructure in new areas?

Global News video of Cal Wenzel, founder of Shane Homes, presenting a plan to defeat select members of city council are perceived to be anti-development:

CBC’s Eyeopener this morning: Mayor Nenshi reacts

This story has produced a flurry of comments on Global’s website. For example:

“Things WILL change, they WILL HAVE to build sustainably and buck up with environmental initiatives as well as paying for asp’s that they push the City to develop just because they want to slap up a new development in the sprawling parts of Calgary. Shame shame shame. Well done global, we need more developers actions put under the microscope”

“Continued urban sprawl is a financial subsidy to housing developers in that their developments get the necessary physical infrastructure (water, road, sewer, transit, et cetera) on the cities dime and property taxes never fully recover these costs.   The city carries a large ongoing debt due to the expense of continued urban sprawl that these developers are trying to ensure continues unabated through the purchase of the necessary votes on city council.”

“The fact is that inner city development is far less costly when you look at the overall life cycle costs than development on the fringes (Transportation, water, sewer, etc.) so its time that the full cost of development is borne by the consumers of new homes in the suburbs.”