September 28, 2020

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Province exploring legal rights surrounding city's proposed growth fees

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister </p>

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/10/2016 (1441 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Brian Pallister says he's received conflicting legal advice on whether the city has the right to unilaterally impose growth fees on new construction.

In response to questions by reporters on Monday, the premier said he wants to see how the issue plays out before city council before potentially taking legal action to block the tax proposal.

In the past, Pallister has said he wouldn't support giving city hall any additional powers to impose new development fees, but Mayor Brian Bowman has said Winnipeg will use its existing authority if it decides to introduce them.

On Monday, Pallister revealed that the province has been reviewing its legal rights in the matter, and the result is anything but conclusive.

"I have, actually, differing legal opinions," he said, refusing to elaborate.

"We'll get into that at the appropriate time," he added.

Last week, Bowman announced he supports a new phased-in implementation plan for the imposition of growth fees, which have been bitterly opposed by developers. Council's executive policy committee is expected to vote on the new approach on Wednesday. The matter could be considered by council as a whole next week.

Pallister said Monday he's pleased that the city recently attempted to reach out for greater public input into the controversial fee, although he acknowledged that no consensus had been achieved.

"I want the debate to continue. I want the participation to be as broad as possible," the premier said.

Pallister said he continues to believe that all levels of government should look for savings before imposing new or higher taxes.

He also noted that suburban areas just outside Winnipeg are growing at 2.5 times the rate as the city itself. Any new impediments to city growth are likely to have "negative consequences," he said, spurring greater urban sprawl and encouraging "a larger carbon footprint."

But for now, Pallister emphasized, he will not make any pronouncements on proposed development or impact fees until city council has dealt with it fully.

"I’m waiting for the process to unfold as it should, and I think that shows the most respect I can show for the city in its deliberations on this issue."

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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