Higher property prices coming

Fred Manson ... city CAO says ODCA might have another chance to speak  -
Fred Manson ... city CAO says ODCA might have another chance to speak
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Developers lost their chance to formally appeal to council regarding an increase in development cost charges.

Council passed the first three readings of a new development cost charges bylaw and decided against arranging an open house for community input.

“As you know, council decided not to do that,” said Michelle Jones, the president of the Oceanside Development and Construction Association.

“We thought there was going to be an opportunity to discuss it.”

Jones said the ODCA met with staff regarding the increases several times.

There were public meetings earlier this year to discuss the DCCs with city staff.

“They had told us we could only talk technical matters,” Jones said.

At that time, Fred Manson, the chief administrative officer for the city, told the ODCA they would perhaps have an opportunity to discuss the DCCs with council.

“This is what I told council tonight,” Manson said at the July 21 council meeting.

He said council can chose to give an opportunity for non-technical statements.

Although at the July 21 meeting council said it would take comments from the ODCA, Jones is not optimistic anything will come from the discussion.

“They’ll listen but they’re not going to do anything about it,” Jones said.

The DCC bylaw is going to the provincial government for approval. If the city makes any changes after that approval, it needs to resubmit the documents.

“We still will write a letter,” Jones said. “We’re disappointed, to say the least.”

Consultation between the city and the ODCA did result in some changes to the originally changed DCCs.

“They’ve doubled, instead of tripled,” Jones said.

Overall, although DCC rates are still proposed to go up, the price jumps are slightly lower than originally proposed.

Initially, the total proposed DCC charge for a single family residential unit was $16,155.70. Now, city staff are proposing an increase to $14,473.44, up from the current rate of $7,797.93.

“The DCCs are going to have an effect on affordable housing,” Jones said. “The end purchaser usually is the one who pays for the DCCs.

“You think lots are expensive now? Wait three or four months.”

One of Jones’ clients is looking at paying an additional $64,000 in DCC costs.

“Do we want economic development?” Jones asked.

The development community is also facing increased DCC costs from the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Staff initially brought forward a higher DCC program because there has been a substantial increase in the costs of goods and services to sustain and provide infrastructure and DCCs no longer meet future requirements, according to a staff report.

DCCs are levies by municipalities to help pay for the added impact of new growth on roads and utilities.

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