Financing Growth

As New Westminster grows, the City will need new and improved utility infrastructure; roads and greenways; parks; recreation and heritage amenities; affordable housing; and childcare. The City uses a combination of the tools below to get new development to help pay for the capital costs generated by population and employment growth.
  • Density Bonusing

    The Local Government Act allows municipalities in British Columbia to permit bonus density in their zoning in exchange for the provision of amenities or affordable housing. This means that in designated zones, a developer can build to higher density if a community amenity contribution is provided to the municipality.

    In some zoning districts, land can be developed to a higher density if the amenities specified in the zone are provided. Only development projects in density bonus zones will be eligible for density bonusing. In New Westminster, Density Bonus Amenity Zoning has been rolled out, to date, in two phases.  

    Phase 1: 
    Phase 1 was adopted in 2010 and applies to townhouses and low rise multiple dwellings districts. The following zones contain bonus density provisions: RT-2, RT-2A, RT-2B, RT-2C, RM-1, RM-1A, RM-1B, RM-2, RM-2A, RMW-2, RMW-2A and RM-5A.

    Phase 2: 
    Phase 2 was adopted by Council on September 16, 2014, and applies to high density residential and mixed-use zones in the Downtown area.

    Council has determined that the amenity contributions collected from Density Bonus Amenity Zoning will be allocated as follows: 30% towards affordable housing, 10% towards childcare 10% towards public art, and 50% towards general amenities (i.e., civic facilities, park space, public art, etc.).

    DENSITY BONUS RATES

    On June 12, 2017, Council directed staff to revise the rates for the City of New Westminster’s Density Bonus Program. The new rates came into effect on January 1, 2018. The new rates are summarized in the table below: 

    Housing Form

    Location

    Contribution Per Area Above Base Density

    Townhouse

    Mainland

    $120 / sq. ft.

    Queensborough

    $120 / sq. ft.

    Downtown

    $90 / sq. ft.

    Apartment

    (Six Storeys or Less)

    Mainland

    $120 / sq. ft.

    Queensborough

    $65 / sq. ft.

    Downtown

    $90 / sq. ft.

    Apartment

    (More Than 6 Storeys)

    Downtown

    $50 / sq. ft.


    RESOURCES

  • Voluntary Amenity Contributions (VACs)

    Some applicants requesting zoning amendments or development variance permits offer to make a voluntary amenity contribution as part of their development proposal. These contributions can be actual amenities, or cash towards amenities such as community facilities, public art, heritage restoration and childcare space.

    New Westminster accepts voluntary amenity contributions as part of development proposals requesting an increase in development rights (e.g. additional density, land use changes, variances resulting in a substantial increase in floorspace that cannot be achieved under existing zoning). The amenity contributions are intended to help fund the capital investments required to accommodate a growing population and economy.  This approach is based on financial analysis to determine whether the change in zoning increases the value of the subject site and, if so, what portion of this increase in land value should be available to fund community amenities. 

    The City began using this approach in May 2005 and has secured significant contributions toward parks, transportation, and public art, and other amenities and community benefits. This tool requires site-by-site negotiations with developers, an approach that is well suited to large, complex projects but is cumbersome for small projects and is not applicable at all to projects that do not require rezoning.

    Guide: Staff Evaluation of Voluntary Amenity Contributions

  • Development Cost Charges (DCCs)

    DCCs are charges levied on new development to assist in funding the cost of upgrading or providing transportation, drainage, water and sanitary infrastructure as wells as developing parkland needed to support new development. DCCs are collected prior to issuance of a building permit.

    CITY OF NEW WESTMINSTER DEVELOPMENT COST CHARGES (DCCS)

    Under Section 559 of the Local Government Act, a municipality can establish development cost charges (DCCs), which are charges levied on new development to assist in funding the cost of upgrading or providing infrastructure services and acquiring and developing parkland needed to support new development. DCCs can be collected to help pay for transportation, drainage, water and sanitary infrastructure, as well as parkland acquisition and development.

    The City of New Westminster has collected DCCs on developments in the Queensborough area since 1995. In 2005 the City expanded the DCC program to include charges for the Mainland. DCCs are collected from all development that imposes a new capital cost burden on the municipality.

    In 2007, the City initiated a comprehensive review of its development cost charges program to better reflect the infrastructure and park needs of growth that were identified in Engineering and Parks plans. City Council gave approval to DCC Bylaw No. 7311.

    In 2015, the City of New Westminster has completed an update of City’s Development Cost Charge (DCC) program for transportation, water, sanitary and drainage. The update focuses on project cost estimates and new infrastructure to support development growth. New DCC rates come into effect on January 1, 2016.

    GREATER VANCOUVER SEWERAGE AND DRAINAGE DISTRICT (GVS&DD) DEVELOPMENT COST CHARGES

    The City collects Greater Vancouver Development Cost Charges on behalf of Metro Vancouver. These funds are used to pay for regional sanitary sewer and drainage works. GVS&DD Development Cost Charges apply to all new development and are collected prior to issuance of a building permit. 

    More information on GVS & DD Development Cost Charges

  • As a condition of subdivision approval, five percent of the development site must be dedicated for use as parkland. This contribution could be cash in lieu of land dedication. Cash contributions are deposited in a reserve fund for future parkland acquisition. Parkland dedication is required from residential subdivisions of four or more lots.

    Subdivision Information

  • On behalf of New Westminster School District No. 40, the City collects school site acquisition charges. These funds are used to purchase new school sites, or land to add to existing school facilities. All new residential development pays SSACs. Click here to view the School District's Capital Bylaw, which includes the current fee schedule.
  • These agreements between the City and a development applicant ensure that water, sewer, electrical, transportation (e.g. crossings, curbs, sidewalks) infrastructure within and adjacent to the development site provided or improved to meet current City standards. Works and Services Agreements are required for all new development. 

    Click here for more information on Works and Services Agreements.