Legion says $300k city development fee holding back new hall

Rendering of the proposed new Stittsville Legion building. Via HDD Hierarchy Development & Design.

Unbearable development fees charged by the City of Ottawa, coupled with disappointing fundraising showings, are coming out as major barriers for the Legion’s new multi-million dollar building.

The Legion announced its ambitious plans for an updated building around this time in 2017, which would see their current building (constructed in the ’30s) demolished and replaced with something more modern.

But with development fees of at least $300,000 — in addition to the $100,000 the Legion has already spent to-date — getting that new building will be a challenge, said Judy Campbell, president of the Stittsville Legion branch.

“This is what’s stalling us and this is why we’re trying to aggressively fundraise and do what we can,” Campbell told StittsvilleCentral.ca.

She suggested one thing that may be helpful would be getting the city to defer the development fee for years — or decades.

In February of this year, the Legion began the main component of its fundraiser — the sale of engraved commemorative bricks that, for $250, can become a part of the new building when it is built.

An example of a commemorative wall brick sold by the Stittsville Legion.
An example of a commemorative wall brick sold by the Stittsville Legion.

But out of a goal to sell 5,000 bricks (which would raise $1.25 million), the Legion has only sold about 50, raising $12,500.

Campbell said she suspects some people are nervous about donating to construct the new building before shovels are in the ground — but adds that they won’t be able to do that without reaching a critical mass in fundraising.

“We just need to get the town behind us,” Campbell said. “You can go online and choose a brick for a loved one, a veteran, a business, a family. It could be for anything… (and) it’ll help to get our new Legion.”

“If for some reason we fail and this does not happen, we have all the records and the money will be given back,” Campbell said.

In addition to the bricks, Campbell is also seeking the possibility of gaining corporate sponsorship from the business community. The Legion was pleased to have received a $5,000 donation from the Lions Club, which then challenged other local groups to match or exceed their donation, she said.

“We also have an account (for) if anyone wants to donate work-in-kind or money,” Campbell added.

They have also sought funding from the federal government, by applying for a $1 million grant to make the building fully accessible, which would be a major upgrade from the current building. However, Campbell said she doubts they will receive the full grant amount if successful in their application.


8 thoughts on “Legion says $300k city development fee holding back new hall”

  1. I think it’s great to make people aware of things like this. In the hazeldean and carp rd area development fees are $23ish per square foot. Double take?? Yep that amount is correct…its actually hard to believe. eg if a land owner want to build a simple 3000 sq foot building on property they already own…. The city if ottawa feels justified in charging land owners almost $70000 for the privilege of being allowed to build on PROPERTY THEY ALREADY OWN AND PAY TAXES ON. speaking of taxes…
    Commercial property taxes are approximately 3 times residential rates. Yep…3 times. So if you own a commercial property worth $600 000 you will pay about $18000 in property tax. In a world where online shopping is taking over this seems rather short sighted… Hopefully these issues will be addressed by our newly elected council!!

    1. Luckily for the Legion, as a charity, they have a partial exemption on property taxes which gives them some relief. They do have to apply for it though.

  2. While I love all the good work the Legion does, I don’t want anymore of my Stittsville stripped away. I never thought that building would go.

    $300K is an outrage! Its nothing but robbery! Is the city actually going to have 3 people making a hundred grand each working on this project for a year? I think not. Its because of Ottawa’s outrageous taxes that I had to move to just outside the city limits – It’s too embarrassing to be part of the City – a City I never wanted to be part of in the first place.

  3. What is the cost for this new building? To generate a development fee of that size, it must be substantial. Is the building going to be strictly for Legion purposes or will they be using part of it to make some money towards its maintenance? I ask that because there’s a patio out front and I wondered if that means there’s a cafe or restaurant in the building.
    I went to the Legion’s website hoping to get some more information but there’s nothing there other than requests for donations. Most of the postings, other than the calendar, aren’t current but reflect the past. For example, the link to the “weekly update” takes you to March of this year while other posts of ‘annual’ events are of those held two years ago.
    It’s hard to get a picture of what the Legion is doing that would make anyone want to donate to a building campaign. It may be a worthwhile cause but, if they aren’t doing some promotion, it’s not surprising they haven’t raised much money. Without knowing things like what they’re doing, how many members they have, what their finances are like and what their plans for the future are, it’s hard to get behind this campaign.
    I could ask them for the information but I shouldn’t have to. They are the ones looking for my support and they should be presenting me with reasons to give that support instead of me having to dig around for it. They’re in a competitive world for people’s donations and there are dozens of other causes that I can give to without having to do any work.

    1. Thank you, Il, for some of the issues you raise. I too would like to know what the Legion does in the community in addition to Remembrance Day activities and support of veterans, how many members it has, their finances, and plans for the future. However, I agree with the writer that this should be easily available without our having to ask or dig for it. I did look up one thing, and according to Stittsville Central in November 2017, the cost of the building was estimated at 1.5 million.

      I have to say I personally enjoy the look of the current building both inside and out. It is of its time and place and of historical interest. Perhaps there are issues with the building’s health, but I would like to know them, and why the need for expensive change? On Saturday Nov.17 2018, there was a relevant article in the Citizen, page D5, with interesting information about Legion Branches across Canada.

      Open discussion in our community seems important, to help the Legion understand why donations aren’t as anticipated so far, , and to help the community as a whole understand more about the Stittsville Legion as it functions today.

      Val Wright, Stittsville

  4. $ 300,000 for what? The City has never been very good about explaining what new expenses are covered by that development fee. Also, how is the amount of the development fee determined?

    The Legion is a charity; surely charities are entitled to more reasonable development fees than those charged to money-making businesses such as shopping malls. Perhaps our esteemed newly elected councillor will be able to work his usual magic on this issue.

    I’m saddened that the fund raising is not showing much progress so far.

  5. This, along with most of the city development fees imposed by the city, is totally ridiculous! Is it any wonder Amazon is building outside the city limits in Cumberland? And we wonder why more companies don’t decide to locate here! The people who decide these fees need to give their heads a shake…

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