Future buyers of new homes in Woolwich can expect to pay higher additional levies to cover the cost of a new road in Breslau.
Development charges – additional taxes on new homes ostensibly to cover the cost of growth – are expected to cover the $27-million price tag for what is known as the “Breslau east connector road.” When built, the road would provide access to a new mixed-use neighbourhood known as the Thomasfield Homes Hopewell Crossing, which includes residential and commercial development, employment lands, parks/open space and a proposed new Breslau GO station.
The new route would run between a future Dolman Street extension at Fountain Street and Greenhouse Road to the east.
More than half of the cost would be eaten up by an overpass to span the rail line, an oversized project that would cover potential future expansion of the Metrolinx/GO Transit line.
Given that there’s no timeline for a GO station and no funding allocated for that project, Thomasfield Homes is calling for the overpass option to be put on hold until there’s an actual need for it.
Company vice-president Tom McLaughlin told councillors meeting Tuesday night that the development charges needed to pay for the road would add significantly to the cost of new homes. Based on the current roads portion of township development charges, the levy on some 5,800 homes would be required.
That may not be doable within the 2031 target for building the new road.
Township director of finance Richard Petherick suggested the development charges would likely have to rise significantly.
“I wouldn’t be surprised to see the roads component actually double,” he said.
That prospect wasn’t embraced by Coun. Patrick Merlihan.
“That is a significant amount of money for one road,” he said of the $27-million cost. “What are the other options?”
He argued it wouldn’t be fair for Woolwich homebuyers to pay for the overpass portion in particular given that it appears to be aimed at potential GO station traffic, most of which will not be township residents.
“Why is that Woolwich developers are on the hook for paying for infrastructure? This is going to serve beyond the region for transportation,” he said, arguing there should be a charge-back to others to help pay for the project. “It shouldn’t be just developers here paying for that.”
Petherick replied that there’s no mechanism to make others pay any share of the project.
“The road cost is up to Woolwich. I think it’s going to be solely borne by us, unless we can find other levels of funding,” he said, pointing to federal or provincial sources.
Mayor Sandy Shantz said she sees the road as an essential link between the older parts of Breslau and the new subdivision, regardless of the GO station.
Beyond the estimated construction costs, the township also expects to spend another $3.4 million for detailed design of the project, land acquisition and legal costs.