(PQB News file photo)

(PQB News file photo)

Number of building permits in the RDN up slightly during last quarter of 2021

Staff shortage meant approval times took longer

The number of building permits issued by the Regional District of Nanaimo in the fourth quarter of last year shows a small increase compared to the same time the previous year.

Overall numbers in the electoral areas remained down compared to the last three years.

In District 69, Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) and Area F (Coombs, Hilliers, Errington, Whiskey Creek, Meadowood) were the busiest sectors.

In Area E, 38 building permits were issued, up from 25 in the final quarter of 2020. Area F’s numbers doubled from 15 to 30 in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Area H (Bowser, Qualicum Bay, Deep Bay) had a small increase with 13 building permits issued in the last quarter of 2021, compared to 11 in 2020.

Area G (French Creek, San Pareil, Little Qualicum, Englishman River) suffered the biggest decline, from 40 in 2020 to 26 in 2021.

RDN staff indicated they encountered significant challenges in processing the high volume of building permits due to the loss of two personnel at the beginning of 2021 and another two later in the year.

Acting manager of building and bylaw services Paul Preston reported to the electoral area services committee on Feb. 3, that it was unfortunate as it resulted in the approval time of building permits to go from four weeks at the end of 2020 to up to 20 weeks by the middle of 2021.

READ MORE: RDN: Board aims to deal with slow approval times for building permits

Recruiting new staff was also challenging, said Preston, as there is a high demand for building officials across British Columbia. The RDN altered its hiring approach and was able to hire three new staff members, who were provided with in-house training geared towards retaining them long-term and also providing better consistency and efficiency for the department.

Preston reported the department is still short of personnel but the addition of the new staff has already had an impact on permit timelines, which is now down to 12 weeks.

Building approval times also depends on the project, complexity, the number of applications being dealt with and the completeness of the applications.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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Nanaimo Regional District

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