Voluntary Amenity Contributions (VACs)
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.