Local improvement charges
Learn about local improvement projects and how municipalities and property owners may pay for them.
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Municipalities may undertake certain municipal capital projects as local improvements. These projects may include:
- installing street lights
- constructing sidewalks or curbs
- roadway reconstruction, such as repaving
- installing water and wastewater infrastructure
- constructing traffic calming features, such as speed bumps
Municipalities may be able to recover all or part of the cost of these projects through local improvement charges on properties that benefit from the work. For example, improvements to sidewalks or installing speed bumps may benefit properties by making an area safe for residents and pedestrians.
New or ongoing projects that qualify for local improvement charges can be identified by:
- the municipal council
- the Province
- property owners
- other sources
Notifying property owners
Before undertaking a local improvement project, the municipality must notify the public and affected property owners. The notice may include information about how to petition against a project.
You can petition to stop a proposed local improvement project if you are an affected property-owner and you do not want the improvements.
The municipality’s notice may contain details about how to petition the project.
If a municipality receives a sufficient number of petitions against starting a project, it may, among other things:
- cancel the project
- apply to the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal for approval to move ahead
If the project goes ahead, municipalities can often spread the cost of the improvements over several years. This helps to reduce the annual payment property owners must make.
If you are a property owner paying local improvement charges and you sell your property before the local improvement charges are fully paid off, generally, the new property-owner must make the rest of the payments.
Municipalities also work with willing property owners to make local improvements on private property. For example, a municipality may encourage the use of solar power by entering into an agreement with property owners to install solar panels on their homes. The property owners could pay off all or part of the cost of the panels through local improvement charges.
As a property owner you can propose local improvement projects to your municipality. However, municipalities have no obligation to undertake these works.