A Nanoose Bay resident has raised concerns about the Regional District of Nanaimo’s timelines in issuing building permits.
Mark Jones said the processing has been slow due to resource constraints at the RDN’s building deparment. The delays, he said, have an impact on thousands of people particularly at time when the region faces housing issues.
Jones is in the process of building two homes on his acreage. He appeared before the Electoral Area Services Committee recently as a delegation. He applied for a building permit in February and after not hearing from the RDN, addressed his concerns with Electoral Area E (Nanoose Bay) director Bob Rogers. He was told the RDN’s building department has been undermanned and has had difficulties hiring building inspectors.
“Right now the housing crisis is negatively impacting every community in the RDN,” said Jones. “It’s a terrible social and economic impact for thousands of people. I am here because it doesn’t need to be this way. It shouldn’t take this long to get a permit as as it does to build an entire house.”
According to the RDN’s manager of building and bylaw services, Tom Armet, permit applications take at least 10 weeks to process, similar to the timelines in other municipalities. They have now hired two more staff members but will still require training.
Armet said they are doing what they can and already are working on a business operation plan and improvements to the bylaw that will help streamline the buidling permit and inspection processing. He pointed out that due to each permit applications being different, it is not easy to come up with definite timelines. The RDN website indicates the approximate current building permit wait time is 16 weeks and it can fluctuate based on the volume of applications received.
Jones believes that an efficient building permit and inspection process will literally improve the lives of thousands of people in significant ways.
“Right now there are tradespeople who are unemployed in one of the biggest building booms in history due to permit wait times,” said Jones. “And residents throughout the region struggle to find housing, many living in hotels, campgrounds, RV parks and sharing accommodations with friends and family.”
“There are many communities on the Island such as Lantzville, Parksville, Comox and Langford where permit applications are approved within days or weeks,” he continued. “Not months.”
The Electoral Area Services Committee did not make any motion to address the concerns raised by Jones. But Armet indicated with the two new staff members, they hope to speed up the process and work through the backlog of permits.