Developers of projects like the now-completed Travino Landing face higher development cost charges.

Saanich set to raise development cost charges by 180 per cent

New rates are lower than initially proposed, but unlikely to satisfy critics in development community

Saanich developers could soon start paying more for infrastructure needed to service their developments.

Saanich council meeting as committee-of-the-whole Monday will consider proposed revisions to development cost charges (DCCs). Saanich defines DCCs as fees collected from land developers on a user-pay basis to fund the cost of growth-related infrastructure such as sanitary sewers, transportation, and storm drainage as well as parks.

Proposed DCCs for a single family (outside Cordova Bay) are $13,498 per lot. In July 2018, the proposed draft rate was $16,360. The new figure still marks a jump of 180 per cent from the previous rate of $4,809 for the same lot.

Councillors are considering the proposed revisions after a second round of consultation had heard that proposed rates first presented in July 2016 are too high among other concerns.

RELATED: Head of Greater Victoria builders warns of changing construction climate

RELATED: Saanich welcomes feedback on development charges

RELATED: Proposed charges will cost Saanich housing affordability

New rates before councillors are now about 20 per cent lower for residential developments and about 15 per cent lower for non-residential development, according to staff.

But the new rates will likely not ease the concerns of the Victoria Residential Builders Association (VRBA), whose executive director Casey Edge has been a vocal critic of the proposed increases and argues that they run counter to the municipality’s stated goal of increasing affordability.

In recent days, VRBA has married this critique of higher development cost charges by pointing that Saanich sit on a surplus of almost $1 billion.

“It is not credible for Saanich councillors and other municipal councils like Victoria (over half a billion dollar surplus) claiming to support housing affordability, while ‘sitting on a mountain of cash’ and boosting costs on the mortgages of young families,” the association writes on its site.

According to the staff report before council, the “public expressed support for the DCC rates proposed” but also raised concerns.

RELATED: Head of Greater Victoria builders critical of stricter climate policy

Developers not only found the rates too high, but also asked the municipality to phase in the rates changes, “noting that the timing was challenging due to high land and construction costs as well as recent provincial taxes imposed…and other initiatives such as the Building Step Code requirements.”

According to the staff report, developers also asked to increase municipal assistance, and consider development cost charge waivers and reductions for affordable housing developments.

Staff ultimately recommended lower rates and a phase in, and council has asked staff to come forward with a bylaw aiding not-for-profit affordable rental housing.

Megan Catalano, a Saanich spokesperson, said VRBA’s claim Saanich is ‘sitting on a mountain of cash is not accurate. “Some of the numbers do represent actual cash,” she said. “However, most of the numbers represent assets and restricted reserve funds.”

In responding to the higher rates, Catalano said almost twenty years have passed since Saanich has made any changes, oror since developers saw an increase in fees. “We appreciate that the changes in costs may be concerning to developers,” she said. “However, it’s important that Saanich remains committed to acting with all parties in mind. We want to harness the economic benefits of development in Saanich, but not at the expense of taxpayers or future generations.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cold water swimming a morning ritual for Willows Beach crew

Group turned heads when they slow-walked into the Polar Plunge

South Vancouver Island B.C. Hydro Customers without power

Due to high winds nearly 3,900 B.C. Hydro customer will be out of power

Sidney signs off on 2020 budget with 1.79 per cent tax increase

Budget also includes additional funding for Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea

Search begins for two missing scouts near Sooke

Crews headed to Jordan River area after receiving call just after 2 p.m.

Scaffolding falls due to strong winds at Millstream Village Sunday afternoon

No injuries or vehicles damaged, according to West Shore RCMP

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read