Prince Edward County wins innovation award for approach to rural housing development

Ontario Construction News staff writer

The top Peter J. Marshall Innovation Award was presented to Prince Edward County in August, for working with developers to fund major water and wastewater infrastructure projects during their pre-design phases. The Plaque Award was presented at the 2022 AMO Conference in Ottawa.

“We are honoured to receive this recognition for our innovative approach that gave Council the comfort necessary to move forward with this expensive public infrastructure,” said Mayor Steve Ferguson.

“Municipal staff thought outside the box to come up with this approach that really could be a model for other rural communities that experiencing unplanned or unexpected growth and need to expand infrastructure to meet that demand.”

The P.J. Marshall Award recognizes municipalities for creativity and success in implementing new, innovative ways of serving the public. It is sponsored by AMO, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the Association of Municipal Managers, Clerks & Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships, the Municipal Finance Officers’ Association, and the Ontario Municipal Administrators’ Association.

Because rural communities struggle with the cost of building infrastructure to support growth, Prince Edward County worked with developers seeking draft approval for subdivision proposals.

A financing agreement was created and the developer covered all servicing costs for the new subdivisions upfront.

“These pre-payments will cover the debt costs for this major infrastructure (including new water tower, water plant, wastewater plant and associated trunk mains) for at least the next 10 years. This arrangement protects the municipal ratepayer, while giving developers the certainty that their developments will be able to connect to water and wastewater infrastructure,” the county said in a statement.

“With debt financing limited and somewhat risky for municipalities, the County found an innovative solution by negotiating upfront financing agreements with developers to pre-pay the development charges at the draft subdivision approval stage, rather than when building permits are issued.”

This approach gave the municipality financial stability to maintain and expand core infrastructure and also provided a potential template for other smaller municipalities to manage growth and demand for housing.


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