Committee approves changes to Community Improvement Plan program


The Finance and Corporate Services Committee today heard about the City’s updated Community Improvement Plan (CIP) initiatives. To align with the 2023-2026 Term of Council priorities, the City would create a new Affordable Housing CIP. The goal is to help increase the supply of new affordable rental housing units across the city by making it easier to create units that start at or below average market rent, with tiered incentives depending on level of affordability.

Tax Increment Equivalent Grants (TIEGs) would be offered as incentives to stimulate developer interest in creating affordable housing. TIEGs leverage the projected uplift in property tax revenue resulting from a development as a tax refund, in the form of a conditional grant to the developer. For predictability, the TIEG would be offered at a fixed rate between $6,000 and $8,000 per affordable unit per year, depending on level of affordability, over a 20-year period. The program also allows grant applications to be stacked up to $5 million.

Economic development CIPs such as Montreal Road and Integrated Orléans Community Improvement Plan programs would continue with revised criteria, including an increased incentive if a project includes 10 or more residential units. The Ottawa International Airport Community Improvement Plan would be paused so that the merits of the program can be reviewed during the next Term of Council. Heritage CIPs would continue as a pilot project for two more years.

The Brownfield Redevelopment CIP would be redesigned so new applications are only eligible if they qualify under the new Affordable Housing CIP. By aligning and allowing stacking of the Brownfield CIP program alongside the Affordable Housing CIP program, it should further incentivize private developers to consider affordable housing units as part of their proposal.

Staff would update the CIP criteria and report back to Committee and Council in early 2024.

The Committee recommended providing delegated authority to staff to negotiate and implement a long-term lease agreement for a facility at 1 Corkstown Road. The building will serve as transitional housing for families which would reduce the City’s reliance on overflow hotels, motels, and post-secondary residences. The building is a four-storey, 170-unit, former retirement residence on 1.64 acres. The site is already zoned for a residential care facility, is vacant, has individual rooms with private bathrooms and shared common spaces and is close to transit and amenities.

The Committee recommended approving the acquisition of 170 Colonnade Road for $7.4 million plus applicable taxes and closing costs. OC Transpo needs additional facility space for its transition from conventional diesel buses to battery electric buses and this property abuts the west side of the OC Transpo Merivale Garage property at 164 Colonnade Road. There is potential for additional development of the site for use by OC Transpo or for other City departments.

The Committee also approved additional Stage 2 funding including contingency funding and general operational budget requirements for 2023. This would increase the contingency budget by $152 million. Furthermore, the approval included recategorizing $40.8 million from the Stage 2 LRT budget for construction payments initially recognized as lifecycle payments, but that should be classified as capital. The report also includes $1.4 million for project funding that was not covered by a Public Transit Infrastructure Fund project. Finally, an additional $457 million required due to the cancellation of the planned doubling of the provincial gas tax revenue will be covered by development charge revenue and transit tax debt.

Items from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, November 22.

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