Town of Erin File photo

The owner of an Erin-based business believes the township’s development charges are “completely out of touch,” and is asking for council to reconsider the impact these fees may have on the local industrial sector.

Reading his letter during a council meeting on Thursday, Wesley Sanders, creator of SpandrelTech, claimed that current development fees are making it almost impossible for anyone to construct an industrial building, let alone consider business growth in the township. 

“Our industrial subdivision has been established for over 40 years yet still sits mostly empty,” said Sanders in his letter to council. “The losses to the town in tax revenue over (those) years have been ridiculous.”

His firm makes custom-fabricated metal panels and brake shapes for the window and siding industry.

Sanders and his wife, Irene, have lived and worked in Erin for almost 60 years, starting their business in 1991 in Acton before moving to Erin in the early 2000’s. 

The family-run business is 14,000 square feet and started with just four employees but has since grown to 35. If SpandrelTech were to expand, building a 20,000-square-foot plant on the 1.2-acre lot next door, the company believes the number would double to 70. 

Selling products throughout North America, SpandrelTech can be found locally at businesses all over Erin. However, the development fees accompanying any business growth have made it impossible for them to expand, claims W. Sanders. 

“I am troubled as to how Erin can move forward when we have so much industrial space that has remained vacant for 40 years,” said Sanders in his letter. “With fees as high as this town has levied the lots will not be filled.”

One of their most significant financial hurdles is the cost of connecting to municipal water services and the new wastewater plant. At $21.38 per square foot, the development would cost the family $427,600, not including building cost which is around $1,500,000. 

The second lot would generate almost $48,200.00 a year in tax revenue for Erin, using 30 per cent of the project funds for development fees. 

Coun. John Brennan wanted to know if it was possible to lower Erin’s fees to match Halton Hills, which are considerably lower.

In Halton Hills, which has five times the population of Erin, it costs $18.21 per square foot.

“Keep in mind the taxes brought in would be worth more than six houses on two acres of land,” said Sanders, in his letter. “(If council votes for another tax increase), this move would be the nail in the coffin for any future business to build here, including myself.”

Coun. Jamie Cheyne commented that a “Ford Mustang” or an infrastructure project like the wastewater construction would have “very different costs depending on when it was built or bought.”

Sanders said Cheyne’s comparison is not apples to apples.

“As of right now there are not enough jobs for residents to work and spend money in our town,” said Sanders, in his letter. “With (thousands of) new homes on the horizon and no jobs to keep them in the area, we will become a bedroom community.”

Sanders also argued that the byproduct of having the industrial subdivision vacant would impact Erin social clubs and programs that “ultimately encourage locals to remain living and shopping” locally.

Filling in as chair, Coun. Bridget Ryan took a moment at the end of the Sanders family delegation to congratulate the company on their local and national successes. 

“Speaking on having visited the facility, I’m not sure that all of us (councillors) are aware that the Sanders (family) have created a library in Calgary,” said Ryan. “It’s quite a showpiece.”

By Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Apr 28, 2023 at 13:21

This item reprinted with permission from   GuelphToday.com   Guelph, Ontario
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