Ottawa City Councillors decided to approve a plan to give an $800,000-plus break in order to secure Amazon's eastern Ontario distribution centre in rural east Ottawa.
The developer building the massive Amazon sorting facility wanted an extra year to pay its $8-million in development charges, while it spends $8 to 9-million bringing services like water and gas to the Amazon site. The developer, Broccolini, will also pay to upgrade and widen Boundary Road at the 417.
Normally interest would accrue at 10% while the city waits to receive the development charges. Broccolini wanted that interest waived -- which will cost the city about $800,000.
"If I were to give you $8 million, and you gave me $800,000 back, I'd say that's a pretty good deal for you," said Mayor Jim Watson, who explained that the infrastructure being built at no cost to the city will enable further industrial development.
"(The infrastructure) will not only serve Amazon but serve our purposes to attract more companies to the east end," Watson told reporters.
The plan was approved by the city's planning committee, but not without a couple of dissenting votes.
Councillors Jeff Leiper and Tobi Nussbaum suggested Amazon can afford to pay the $800,000 in interest, and worry about the message sent by the city forgoing revenue to lure an already-rich company -- both to residents and to other developers.