What is a Community Improvement Plan?

    A Community Improvement Plan (or CIP) is a tool under the Province’s ‘Planning Act’ that permits a municipality to provide financial assistance/incentives to private or not-for profit property owners to achieve specific community improvement objectives in a defined geographic area of the municipality. Once implemented, financial assistance/incentives can be provided in the form of grants, loans or tax assistance to property owners or authorized tenants.  

    Is the City required to establish Community Improvement Plans or provide financial assistance/incentive programs?

    No. Financial assistance programs are made available at the discretion of City Council.

    What is a ‘Brownfield’?

    A ‘Brownfield’ is an undeveloped or previously developed property that may, or is known to be, contaminated. Brownfield are usually, but not exclusively, former industrial or commercial properties that may be underutilized, derelict or vacant.

    What kind of financial assistance is currently provided by the City under the Environmental Remediation and Site Enhancement (ERASE) Community Improvement Plan?

    Financial assistance is currently provided to support the investigation and remediation of contaminated properties in the urban area as well as the abatement/removal of designated substances and hazardous materials (such as asbestos) in institutional and designated heritage buildings.  Financial assistance is currently provided through the following forms:

    • Grants to share the cost of environmental studies required to investigate the environmental condition of properties/buildings; 
    • Tax increment-based grants provided annually equal to a portion of the increase in taxes resulting from the remediation and redevelopment of a site as a means of reimbursing for costs required to remediate the environmental condition of the property;
    • Freezing of municipal property taxes during the remediation and redevelopment stages;
    • Low-interest loans within the Downtown and West Harbour areas to fund remediation works on site’s which will be subject to redevelopment; and
    • No interest deferrals of all or a portion of payable Development Charges for sites requiring remediation.

    Why is the City reviewing these programs now?

    The city undertakes a comprehensive review of its Community Improvement Plans every five years.  These reviews are intended to identify any changes that may be needed to ensure that the CIP and its associated financial assistance/incentive programs continue to align with provincial and local policies, are achieving their intended goals, continue to be financially sustainable and that programs align with current community and Council priorities.

    Does the ERASE Community Improvement Plan authorize reductions or exemptions to Development Charges?

    No.   Current exemptions or reductions to Development Charges are authorized under the City of Hamilton’s Development Charges By-Law.  More information on this By-law can be found here: https://www.hamilton.ca/budget-finance/development-charges-community-benefits-charges-and-parkland-dedication/current

    Is the City reviewing its other Community Improvement Plans?

    No. This review is solely with respect to the ERASE Community Improvement Plan and its associated financial assistance programs.  This review does not include other City Community Improvement Plans such as the ‘Revitalizing Hamilton’s Commercial Districts’ or ‘Hamilton LEEDing the Way’ Community Improvement Plans. Information on these other plans can be found at www.hamilton.ca/cip