Developer David Chard stands on the future site of his latest residential project in the 800-block of Broughton St. Chard appeared before a City of Victoria committee last week to ensure the project moves forward as planned.

Developer David Chard stands on the future site of his latest residential project in the 800-block of Broughton St. Chard appeared before a City of Victoria committee last week to ensure the project moves forward as planned.

Cash-for-height development deal ramps up at City of Victoria

Density bonus fees controversial but commonplace in many North American municipalities

A 10-storey residential building slated for downtown Victoria is set to be the first test of a controversial city policy that developers say increases the sale price of condos.

The city’s bonus density program was created in 2011 to allow developers to build more floors than prescribed in downtown zoning, in exchange for cash.

That money is used for public realm improvements and seismic upgrading of heritage buildings, a model adopted by many modern North American cities.

But the policy doesn’t sit right with developer David Chard, who is bringing forward a proposal for a residential building in the 800-block of Broughton St., across from the downtown YMCA/YWCA.

“As a developer, we basically flow through all of our costs to the end user,” he said. “The more these costs, whether they are payments such as bonus density or permit charges, those fees are added to the cost of a unit.”

Chard has built more than 300 residential units in and around the downtown core since 2006 including the Corazon and Juliet buildings, and The Sovereign on Broughton.

Chard’s latest application is the first the city has processed since the density bonus came into full effect Jan. 1. As part of the policy, an independent economic analysis is done to calculate the contribution to city coffers as a percentage of the value of added density.

“We have no idea if we’ll stand to benefit one dollar or a million dollars,” said Coun. Pam Madoff. “I think the numbers will be extremely modest once we get the analysis back.”

Casey Edge, executive director of the Victoria Homebuilders Association, said developers have been adamantly opposed to bonus density since it was first proposed.

“All bonus density schemes do is apply a significant tax on development without the municipality taking the risk,” said Edge, whose association advocates on behalf of about 100 developers in the Capital Region.

“The City of Victoria, aside from bonus density, has the worst reputation in the region for development processes. It’s also the most costly place to do business,” he said.

Madoff acknowledged city hall has been slow to demonstrate “surety” in its dealings with developers in the past. But she said bonus density provides “a quantifiable, predictable” fee for new developments, instead of on-the-fly amenity dealings at the council table.

“Overarching this all is the importance for council to let these applications go through and see what the costs will be,” she said. “The policy was adopted for very good reasons.”

Chard’s development application for Broughton Street will be sent for public consultation later this year. In the meantime, he’ll wait to see how much he owes for the extra storeys on his residential plans.

“There is so much discussion in the city on housing affordability. And this (bonus density policy), in my opinion, goes counter to that,” he said.


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

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read