Council upholds building permit cap

CENTRAL MANITOULIN – A recommendation from the Finance and Economic Development Committee to rescind a bylaw setting a cap on building permit fees at  $250,000 was defeated at council following considerable debate.

The motion, moved by Councillor Al Tribinevicius and seconded by Councillor Steve Shaffer, would have lifted the limit on building permit fees that sees a $2.5 million home building permit cost the same as that for a $250,000 home.

“We have a building boom here in Central Manitoulin,” noted Councillor Derek Stephens. “Is it because of the building permit fees?”

“I am kind of leaning toward agreeing with (Councillor) Derek (Stephens),” said Mayor Richard Stephens. “We may be losing out on the fees portion, but are we making it up on the larger tax base? I would much rather see large homes with a large tax base than a small increase in building fees.”

“A $2.5 million building will bring in more tax dollars,” said Councillor Stephens.

“I am similarly torn,” said Councillor Angela Johnston. “I am in favour of looking at fees. I would like to see the cap set higher. To just go back to the 2005 level, however?”

“Is there any downside to not proceeding?” questioned Mayor Stephens.

Clerk Ruth Frawley noted that someone planning to build a $2.5 million building is not likely to be looking at the relatively minor cost of the building permit.

The council vote split two to two with Mayor Stephens voting against the motion. The motion to essentially remove the cap on building fees was defeated.