Ironic development

Perhaps some councillors don't fully understand how development cost charges work

Qualicum Beach Council approved third reading of the Clarion development on May 6 with perhaps some members of council not fully understanding the ramifications of how DCC (development cost charge) revenue reduction factors had influenced a height increase to five storeys.

Perhaps a 101 course in understanding Bylaw #682 and simple math is required?

The bylaw, introduced in 2012 to encourage downtown development, provides a 70 per cent reduction in normal cost charges if certain housing densities are achieved. This amounts to a removal of up to $624,000 that would have gone into the town coffers had it not been met in full.

A further 30 per cent reduction  of $187,000 is possible if the development meets “leadership in energy and environmental design,” which is to be determined by the town planner as to the precise level of achievement.

In the case of the Clarion, it required a five-storey building using a full parcel width which encroaches on town land at one point, 99 per cent hard surface coverage, and therefore virtually no permeable land surfaces, in order to reach this target reduction in full.

The irony is that had the developer used less land coverage, all they would have needed was to increase the height above the five-storeys proposed to reach the same target. Hence the sky’s the limit.

At an assumed average unit tax base of $1,500/year/unit net to the town, it will take up to 10 years to recover the lost revenue that might otherwise have been charged to the developer. This is 20 per cent of the design life of the development.

David Golson

Qualicum Beach