Regional infrastructure, such as water transmission pipes, wastewater collection systems pipes and the associated treatment facilities, is essential to the economic, environmental, and future growth of our region. Having sufficient funding to maintain and upgrade these systems and facilities is critical. New development, including homes, apartments and building expansions, place additional load and capacity requirements on these systems. The Regional Development Charge (RDC) ensures that any upgrades/ oversizing to infrastructure or system management needed to accommodate forecasted growth is paid for by growth (i.e. the developers and property owners who are deriving the benefit) and not subsidized by Halifax Water’s current customers. Having new development pay to fund growth, maintain system compliance and renew assets in support of their development is consistent with NSUARB and Halifax Water’s “user-pay” principles. The RDC benefits new development by ensuring the capacity is available in the Regional Infrastructure when it is needed.
Regional Development Charge Rates
Wastewater - Urban Core (all areas within HRM with central wastewater service.)
|Type of Development||Current Rate||Proposed Rate|
|Single Unit Dwellings / Townhouses||$4080.80 / unit||$4941.04 / unit|
|Multiple Unit Dwellings||$2740.84 / unit||$3318.61 / unit|
|Industrial / Commercial / Institutional Buildings||$2.24 / sq.ft.||$2.40 / sq.ft.|
Water - Urban Core (all areas within HRM with central water service.)
|Type of Development||Current Rate||Proposed Rate|
|Single Unit Dwellings / Townhouses||$182.88 / unit||$1810.00 / unit|
|Multiple Unit Dwellings||$122.83 / unit||$1216.00 / unit|
|Industrial / Commercial / Institutional Buildings||$0.09 / sq.ft.||$0.88 / sq.ft.|
Regional Development Charge (RDC) Frequently Asked Questions
The RDC is a fee payable at the building permit stage of a development to cover costs associated with the funding of the capacity expansion of regional water and wastewater treatment facilities and associated infrastructure. The fee was approved by Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (NSUARB) effective July 14, 2014. An update application was submitted to the NSUARB November 22, 2019.
As new development takes place, additional capacity/strain is placed on water and wastewater systems. There are costs incurred by Halifax Water for the additional load placed on the water and wastewater systems. The RDC funds regional water and wastewater infrastructure requirements related to growth. The charges will help ensure new growth and development pays for the infrastructure costs caused by new development and have infrastructure in place to support continued growth. This fee model provides fairness across the rate base and ensures current Halifax Water customers do not subsidize new growth and development.
The RDC is payable when there is a net increase in the number of units in a residential building and/or when there is an increase in floor area for a commercial/industrial/institutional building.
If a single unit dwelling is demolished after July 14, 2014, and followed by the construction of a single unit dwelling, the new single-unit dwelling would not be subject to the RDC. If the new construction were to be two units, the applicant would be subject to the net increase.
The RDC applies to new and existing Halifax Water customers when there is a net increase in the number of units in a residential building and/or when there is an increase in floor area for a commercial/industrial/institutional building.
The RDC is collected at the Building Permit stage through HRM’s Customer Service Centres.
The RDC, approved by Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board in 2014, replaced the existing Sewer Redevelopment Charge (SRC), Regional Wastewater Capital Cost Contribution Charge, and Trunk Sewer Charge. These charges were collected for the same general intent but did not meet the funding requirements.
At the time of the RDC approval in 2014, Halifax Water did not have all the components of a water system master plan. Since 2014, and in keeping with the NSUARB’s requirement to update the RDC after five years, Halifax Water has completed a comprehensive infrastructure master plan. The master plan includes the first consolidated thirty-year plan for water infrastructure.
The Multiple Unit Dwelling rate will be applied for each unit.
If the combined Water and Wastewater RDC is in excess of $100,000, there is an option to defer payment of 25% of the RDC, thus transferring the deferred amount to a lien on the property tax account through the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM). The calculation and option will occur during the building permit issuance process. The deferred amount will remain as a lien on the property by HRM until it is paid to HRM. The HRM lien can be paid out/settled at any time prior to the deadline.
The deadline for repayment of the deferred amount is two (2) years from the issuance of the building permit. Interest will not be applied to the deferred amount during the two year deferral period if the balance owed is paid in full within two (2) years. At the end of the two (2) year period, any unpaid balance would subject to interest at the rate of 1.25% monthly, or 15% annually. Any unpaid balance, as a lienable charge, could initiate a tax sale process in accordance with the Halifax Regional Municipality Charter. The responsibility for the removal of the lien rests with the property owner.
There was stakeholder engagement, as well as a number of targeted studies undertaken in the development of the RDC. Halifax Water hosted three formal stakeholder workshops during which stakeholders were provided the background data to support the RDC figures. The NSUARB process is also public.
There will be regular updates to the RDC to reflect changes in growth projections, costs of infrastructure, legislative changes, among other factors. These updates are planned to occur on a five-year cycle and will involve stakeholders. If there are changes to any of the inputs that could alter the RDC by +/- 15% during the five year update period, Halifax Water will make the necessary adjustments to address the change/s.