Clarity on city's parks fee

The Sept. 25 letter “$7K housing fee outrageous” contained many inaccurate statements. For example, the cost of park development has been carried to date by residents and businesses through property tax – not by commercial developers as the letter states.

The proposed Parks Funding Program seeks to spread the funding load across different sources, including new residential development, the new Infrastructure Levy, Commercial & Industrial Parks Development Cost Charges, a taxation shift from land acquisition to land development, Park Revenues (from park concessions, for example), as well as the existing sources of Taxation, Gas Tax, Grants and Partnerships.

Unlike most other B.C. municipalities, Kelowna has never implemented a parks development charge through the DCC program. 

This current council is looking to correct that. The proposed Parks DCC is a charge paid by developers on new development to fund additional park amenities required by the new residents (for example, more playgrounds, sports fields, beaches).  

There are no existing or proposed Parks DCCs on secondary suites.

It is also worth noting, Kelowna does not require a five-per-cent land dedication for parks, which is equivalent to another significant charge on new development and is levied by most other B.C. municipalities. 

When all parks charges or equivalents are considered together, even with this new charge, Kelowna remains competitive with what other municipalities charge. It will be exactly in the middle of the price range for Okanagan communities, and third lowest of comparable municipalities across B.C.  Notably Surrey, Langley Township and Richmond are between $15,000 and $19,000 more than that proposed in Kelowna.

Finally, the Parks Funding Program has been developed in response to community expectations and frustrations – many sports organizations are unable to meet demand and have to cancel leagues due to an acute shortage of available field time.

New neighbourhoods reasonably expect their neighbourhood parks to be built while their kids are still young enough to enjoy them; and parks in urban centres provide a much needed balance to increased urban density.

Robert Parlane, City of Kelowna

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