Local Improvements

What is a local improvement?

A local improvement is an enhancement such as the installation of water mains, sanitary sewer mains, storm sewer mains, a paved road, a sidewalk, street lighting, construction of a gravel lane or paving of a lane.

Why don't all subdivisions have the same improvements constructed at the development stage?

In order to keep lot prices down, some areas may not have all the amenities that other areas have. For instance, most areas have unpaved lanes. Older subdivisions may lack some of the more common amenities found in newer subdivisions; such as gravel lanes, roadways with sidewalks on both sides, paved lanes or street lighting.

What is the process for initiating a local improvement?

A group of property owners may petition City Council for a local improvement such as a paved lane or a new sidewalk.

To initiate a local improvement, follow these steps:

  • Submit a legal petition signed by 2/3 of the property owners who would be responsible to pay the local improvement tax. The property owners who sign the petition must represent at least half of the value of the assessed parcels of land on which the local improvement tax will be imposed.
  • Council will consider the request and either direct the Administration to prepare a local improvement plan or deny the request based on the information provided to them.
  • If Council directs the Administration to prepare a local improvement plan, The City would then send out notices to the persons who would be liable to pay the local improvement tax.
  • If a legal petition against the local improvement is filed with The City within 30 days of the notices being sent out, The City would declare the original petition to be insufficient and City Council would not proceed with the local improvement.
  • If a legal petition against the local improvement is not filed within 30 days of mailing the notices, City Council may undertake the local improvement and impose a local improvement tax.
  • Prior to Council proceeding with the improvement, a Local Improvement Tax Bylaw would be required authorizing The City to charge a local improvement tax on all land that will benefit from the improvement.
Who pays for local improvements?

A commitment to pay for the improvement through a local improvement tax must be made by a group of property owners who would benefit from the proposed local improvement.

The cost of the local improvement is added to the property owner's tax bill the year after the improvement has been constructed. A property owner has the option of paying the full amount (lump sum) of the local improvement tax or amortizing the payment for a specified period, usually five, 10 or 20 years. The lump sum payment works out to be less expensive than the amortized payment, as interest is attached to the annual payment amount.

How much does a local improvement cost to each taxpayer?

The cost depends on how much of your property is adjacent to the improvement; such as new street lighting or a paved lane.

The City calculates the cost for each individual project and that cost is set out in the local improvement plan. Based on the requirements of the Municipal Government Act, City Council has established the following methods to distribute the local improvement cost among the benefiting property owners:

Single Family Residential

The assessable frontage is normally used to calculate the local improvement tax in single family residential areas. The assessable frontage is derived using the legal description of the property and the frontage shown on the legal plan. An averaging method is used by The Assessment & Tax Manager to determine the frontage for odd shaped lots.

Mixed Land Use

The assessed value of the property is normally used to calculate the local improvement tax in areas having mixed land uses such as single family, apartments, condominium properties, in the same block. The Assessment & Tax Manager provides the assessed value, which is the same value used to determine your other municipal taxes.

Commercial & Industrial

The assessable area of a parcel is normally used to calculate the local improvement tax in commercial and industrial areas. The assessable area is derived using the legal description of the property and the area shown on the legal plan.

For local improvement information on:

New sidewalks, lane paving, street lighting, and water/wastewater services, contact:
Engineering Services Department403-342-8158

Conversion of overhead to underground power, contact:
Utilities, Electrical Utility Section

Petition forms for the local improvement process can be obtained from:
Legislative Services403-342-8132