Brownfields & Incentives

Revitalization. Opportunity. Investment.


What are Brownfields?

Brownfields are vacant or underutilized properties such as former industrial sites, closed service stations, dry cleaners, disposal sites or foundries that have remained unused or underdeveloped after the original business closed. Waterscape.jpgIn Waterloo Region, our history as a manufacturing centre means we have brownfields located in prime locations throughout our community.

The Region recognizes the opportunities brownfield properties represent for new investment and the important role these sites have in achieving the Region’s long term objectives including:

  • promoting compact growth that utilizes existing infrastructure;
  • reducing the outward expansion of the urban area;
  • mitigating potential risk to Regional groundwater sources by promoting the remediation of environmentally impacted properties; and
  • supporting the adaptive reuse of buildings, including heritage properties.

 

The Brownfield Financial Incentive Program (BFIP)

The BFIP is a collection of financial incentives offered through the Region that are intended to promote the redevelopment of brownfield sites throughout Waterloo Region. These financial incentives will assist property owners and developers with costs associated with the environmental investigation, remediation and ultimate redevelopment of a brownfield site.

The BFIP consists of three programs:

1. Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Grant (available Region wide)

The Phase Two ESA grant program provides property owners the opportunity to cost-share with the Region total eligible costs associated with the investigative testing and preparation of a Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment report in order to document the current environmental state of their property. The program will provide 50 per cent of the cost of the report, up to a maximum of $40,000.

Phase Two ESA Program Details

Phase Two ESA Frequently Asked Questions

2. Regional Development Charge (RDC) Exemptions (available Region wide)

The RDC Exemption incentive provides a reduction to any Regional Development Charges due at the time of application for a Building Permit on a brownfield property. The maximum potential exemption is equal to the total eligible costs incurred in order to remediate the environmental condition of the property and achieve filing of a Record of Site Condition (RSC) with the Ministry of Environment.

RDC Exemption Program Details

RDC Exemption Frequently Asked Questions

3. Joint Tax-Increment Grant (TIG) (available in the Cities of Cambridge and Kitchener)*

The joint TIG incentive further offsets remediation costs for brownfields by providing annual grants based on the increase in property taxes that result after completion of remediation, redevelopment and reassessment of a brownfield property. This grant is provided annually until such time as the total eligible remediation costs incurred for the purposes of achieving filing of a Record of Site Condition with the Ministry of Environment have been recovered, or to a maximum of 10 annual payments, whichever comes first.

The joint TIG incentive is operated in partnership with the Cities of Cambridge and Kitchener with applications to the program requiring City and Regional Council approval.

TIG Program Details

TIG Frequently Asked Questions

*Visit the City of Waterloo's website for more information on the City of Waterloo Brownfield Community Improvement Plan proposal.

 

Starting Your Application

In order to submit an application for any of the incentives available under the BFIP, you must first contact the Regional Brownfield Coordinator to arrange a Pre-Application Meeting. BreithauptBlock5.jpgThis meeting will be an opportunity to provide details about your property and to learn about the eligibility criteria, submission requirements and the application/approval process for each of the incentive programs you’re interested in applying for.

It is strongly encouraged that Pre-Application Meetings be arranged prior to any investigative or remediation work being undertaken on the property.

 

BFIP Application Packages

Each application package provides detailed information about the incentives offered including:

  • Eligibility Criteria;
  • Terms of Financial Assistance;
  • Eligible Costs;
  • Application Process; and
  • Terms and Condition of the Program.

It is important to read through the entire application package and to fill out the form in its entirety. Applications may only be submitted after a Pre-Application Meeting has been held with the Regional Brownfield Coordinator.

Phase Two ESA Application Package

RDC Exemption Application Package

For the Tax Increment Grant (TIG) program, please choose the application package for the municipality in which your property is located:

City of Cambridge TIG Application Package

City of Kitchener TIG Application Package

 

Eligible Costs and Invoicing

In order for costs to be accepted under any of the incentives offered, it must be shown that that the cost was:

  1. An ‘Eligible Cost’ as described in the applicable incentive application package; and
  2. Be documented as part of a detailed invoice containing detailed descriptions of each activity carried out and its associated cost before HST.

Invoices will be reviewed to ensure they contain detailed information about the remediation activities carried out and that the costs and activities identified are eligible in accordance with the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline found below. In order to be accepted invoices must contain the following information:

  • Invoice number;
  • Invoice date;
  • Project site address/location;
  • Invoice date;
  • Firm name/description;
  • Invoice amount (before HST);
  • Highly detailed descriptions of the activities carried out and their individual costs;
  • Explanation from the firm describing how the invoices related to the sites remediation; and
  • Any additional comments/explanations required.

Applicants must also ensure that the costs submitted are a reasonable reflection of the remediation work that was proposed to be undertaken in the Remedial Work Plan provided with the application.

Please note that invoices that do not provide highly detailed information about the individual activities carried out and their specific costs and/or culminate in total eligible costs in excess of the estimate provided in the Remedial Work Plan may not be accepted!

For applications under the RDC Exemption and/or joint TIG incentive, please review the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline below for additional information about what costs are considered eligible and the requirements for invoice documentation.

Eligible Remediation Costs Submission Requirements

 

Brownfield Municipal Contacts

Region of Waterloo

John Hill
Principal Planner
150 Frederick St., Kitchener ON N2G 4J3
519-575-4500 x3417
jhill@regionofwaterloo.ca

City of Cambridge

Deanne Friess, MCIP RPP
Senior Planner, Reurbanization
50 Dixon St., Cambridge ON N1R 8S1
519-740-4650 x4213
friessd@cambridge.ca

City of Kitchener

Robert Morgan
Capital Investment Advisor
200 King St. W., Kitchener ON N2G 4G7
519-741-2200 x7734
Robert.morgan@kitchener.ca

City of Waterloo

Adam Lauder, MCIP RPP
Policy Planner
100 Regina St S., Waterloo ON N2J 4A8
519-747-8649
Adam.lauder@waterloo.ca
 


 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Phase Two ESA FAQs

I have a draft Phase Two ESA report completed; can I apply to the program?

No. The Phase Two ESA program is intended to provide early stage funding and is not intended to provide funding for reports that have already been completed.

Are there specific Phase Two ESA reporting requirements that must be addressed?

Yes. The specific requirements are detailed in table form within the application form. It is advisable to bring your technical advisor/consultant to the preapplication meeting to discuss the technical requirements. If there are subsequent questions about the technical requirements, we are happy to arrange another meeting or conference call.

Is funding limited for the Phase Two ESA program?

Yes. At the current time, there is a limited amount of funding available for Phase Two ESA grants. Applications which meet all of the eligibility requirements will be funded on a first come first serve basis.

Does the Phase Two ESA work have to meet all the requirements of Ontario Regulation 153/04 to be eligible for the grant?

No. The ESA work should generally meet the requirements of the CSA standard, and APGO or PEO professional standards, for Environmental Site Assessment work. In addition it must meet the specific requirements detailed in the application form, to be eligible for the grant.

 

RDC Exemption FAQs

When should I submit my RDC Exemption application?

After your pre-application meeting, provide one (1) copy each of the completed application form, Phase One and preliminary Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment reports, and a draft Remedial Work Plan to the Regional Brownfield Coordinator. Electronic submissions are encouraged.

Who can prepare my environmental reports?

Phase One and Phase Two Environmental Site Assessments as well as a Remedial Work Plan must be prepared by a Qualified Person (QP) as defined under Ontario’s Regulation 153/04.

What information should be included in the Remedial Work Plan?

The plan should outline the planned remediation approach to be carried out in order to achieve filing of a Record of Site Condition with the Ministry of Environment. In addition, the plan should provide a cost estimate of how much the planned remediation will cost. Costs incurred beyond those identified in the Remedial Work Plan may not be eligible for reimbursement. As part of your Remedial Work Plan, the Region may request a Soil Management Plan. Please see the Province of Ontario’s Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices.

Which remediation costs are eligible under the RDC Exemption program?

Eligible remediation costs are outlined in the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline

Who can undertake remediation work on my site?

You may choose who carries out the remediation work on your site. However, if plans for remediation include the use of a wholly owned company, subsidiary firm or any company with which the applicant/owner has a financial interest, cost estimates for the work should be provided by at least two other competitive bidders. The applicant/owner should also be prepared to demonstrate the anticipated cost savings and added benefit this approach provides.

What happens after I submit my application?

The Region will review the application to determine eligibility. If a site is determined to be eligible, the Region will inform you that the application has been accepted. However the application cannot be approved until such time as a Record of Site Condition has been filed and acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment. In the meantime, the applicant is expected to carry out remediation work on the site in accordance with the Remedial Work Plan provided with the application.

Does my RDC Exemption application require Regional Council approval?

No. RDC Exemption approvals are provided for under Schedule C of the current Regional Development Charge Bylaw (09-024)

When should I submit my invoices?

Once the application has been accepted, invoices should be submitted to the Region throughout the remediation process in order to provide feedback and ensure that the invoices contain the necessary detail to allow for acceptance.

How are my invoices for eligible remediation costs reviewed?

Invoices will be reviewed to ensure they contain detailed information about the remediation activities carried out and that the costs and activities identified are eligible in accordance with the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline.

The invoices must contain the following information:

  • Invoice number;
  • Invoice date;
  • Project site address/location;
  • Invoice date;
  • Firm name/description;
  • Invoice amount (before HST);
  • Highly detailed descriptions of the activities carried out and their individual costs;
  • Explanation from the firm describing how the invoices related to the sites remediation; and
  • Any additional comments/explanations required.

Applicants must also ensure that the costs submitted are a reasonable reflection of the remediation work that was proposed to be undertaken in the Remedial Work Plan provided with the application.

Please note that invoices which do not provide highly detailed information about the individual activities carried out and their specific costs and/or which culminate in total eligible costs in excess of the estimate provided in the Remedial Work Plan may not be accepted!

Will my invoices be audited?

Yes. Once the Region has completed reviewing all submitted invoices, the applicant/owner must submit a third party, independent audit of these costs, at the applicant’s expense. The applicant/owner may choose any chartered accountant to undertake the audit so long as the accountant is an impartial, third party who is not employed by the applicant/owner or involved with the project in any other capacity. The audit should confirm the link between the remediation costs submitted and the Remedial Work Plan followed to achieve the Record of Site Condition and be carried out in accordance with the standards set out in Section 5815 of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants Handbook – Special Reports – Audit Reports on Compliance with Agreements, Statues and Regulations.

Is HST an eligible cost?

No, HST is not included.

When is the site considered ‘remediated’?

The site is considered ‘remediated’ once a Record of Site Condition (RSC) has been approved and acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment.

When will the RDC exemptions be available?

The RDC Exemption application will be approved upon satisfactory acceptance of the audit report by the Region. The Exemptions will be available thirty (30) calendar days after a Record of Site Condition has been filed and acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment.

Do I have to wait to apply for my Building Permit until my RDC Exemption application is approved?

No. Applicable Regional Development Charges paid at the time of Building Permit application can be refunded once the RDC Exemption application has been approved.

Are there time limits on my RDC Exemption approval?

Yes. RDC exemption approvals are valid for 5 years beginning thirty (30) calendar days after a Record of Site Condition has been filed and acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment.

 

Joint TIG FAQs

When should I submit my TIG application?

After your pre-application meeting, provide one (1) copy each of the completed application form, Phase One and preliminary Phase Two Environmental Site Assessment reports, and a draft Remedial Work Plan to the Region and City contacts. Electronic submissions are encouraged.

Who can prepare my environmental reports?

Phase One and Phase Two Environmental Site Assessments as well as Remedial Work Plans must be prepared by a Qualified Person (QP) as defined under Ontario’s Regulation 153/04, as amended.

What information should be included in the Remedial Work Plan?

The plan should outline the planned remediation approach to be carried out in order to achieve filing of a Record of Site Condition with the Ministry of Environment. In addition, the plan should provide a cost estimate of how much the planned remediation will cost. This estimate will be used as the maximum potential grant amount should your application be approved by Regional and City Councils. Costs incurred beyond those identified in the Remedial Work Plan may not be eligible for reimbursement. As part of your Remedial Work Plan, the Region may request a Soil Management Plan. Please see the Province of Ontario’s Management of Excess Soil – A Guide for Best Management Practices.

Which remediation costs are eligible under the TIG program?

Eligible remediation costs are outlined in the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline.

Who can undertake remediation work on my site?

You may choose who carries out the remediation work on your site. However, if plans for remediation include the use of a wholly owned company, subsidiary firm or any company with which the applicant/owner has a financial interest, cost estimates for the work should be provided by at least two other competitive bidders. The applicant/owner should also be prepared to demonstrate the anticipated cost savings and added benefit this approach provides.

What happens after I submit my application?

The Region and City will review the application to determine eligibility. If a site is determined to be eligible, the Region and City will prepare a recommendation for consideration by Regional and City Councils. In addition, a draft payment schedule based on the estimated eligible remediation costs and post remediation and redevelopment assessment of the property, provided by the applicant, will be developed for each Council’s consideration (this payment schedule will be updated with the actual eligible remediation costs and actual assessment prior to payment).

If the application is approved, a legal agreement will be prepared between the Region, City and applicant/owner to finalize the approval process.

When should I submit my invoices?

Invoices may be submitted to the Region and City contacts anytime after the application has been approved (please note that invoices for remediation work undertaken more than 12 months prior to the date of application submission are not eligible). Invoices should be submitted to the Region and City throughout the remediation process in order to provide feedback and ensure that the invoices contain the necessary detail to allow for acceptance.

How are my invoices for eligible remediation costs reviewed?

Invoices will be reviewed to ensure they contain detailed information about the remediation activities carried out and that the costs and activities identified are eligible in accordance with the Eligible Cost Submission Guideline.

The invoices must contain the following information:

  • Invoice number;
  • Invoice date;
  • Project site address/location;
  • Invoice date;
  • Firm name/description;
  • Invoice amount (before HST);
  • Highly detailed descriptions of the activities carried out and their individual costs;
  • Explanation from the firm describing how the invoices related to the sites remediation; and
  • Any additional comments/explanations required.

Applicants must also ensure that the costs submitted are a reasonable reflection of the remediation work that was proposed to be undertaken in the Remedial Work Plan provided with the application.

Please note that invoices which do not provide highly detailed information about the individual activities carried out and their specific costs and/or which culminate in total eligible costs in excess of the estimate provided in the Remedial Work Plan may not be accepted!

Will my invoices be audited?

Yes. Once the Region and City have completed reviewing all submitted invoices, the applicant/owner must submit a third party, independent audit of these costs, at the applicant’s expense. The applicant/owner may choose any chartered accountant to undertake the audit so long as the accountant is an impartial, third party who is not employed by the applicant/owner or involved with the project in any other capacity. The audit should confirm the link between the remediation costs submitted and the Remedial Work Plan followed to achieve the Record of Site Condition.

Is HST an eligible cost?

No, HST is not included.

When is the site considered ‘remediated’?

The site is considered ‘remediated’ once a Record of Site Condition (RSC) has been approved and acknowledged by the Ministry of Environment.

When will grant payments begin?

Payments will begin in the first year following completion of the remediation, redevelopment and reassessment of the brownfield property. The reassessment of the property must be undertaken by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) at the request of the applicant/owner.

 

Contact(s)

Region of Waterloo General Inquiries

Contact Information for General Inquiries
150 Frederick St., Kitchener, Ontario N2G 4J3

Phone: 519-575-4400
TTY: 519-575-4608

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Link to Region of Waterloo Home Page

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