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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

WATCH: Oak Bay wins regional skating competition

Winning tradition continues leading up to provincials

Sidney designer showing killer collection at Van Fashion Week

A young Sidney designer is showing her 14 piece collection Obsidian Nights at Vancouver Fashion Week

Invasive crab spotted near Sooke

Fisheries need more data to know if numbers are increasing

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

B.C.-based ‘Team Tardi’ brings home gold in junior curling worlds

In a 9-4 victory over Switzerland, a Langley-based curling team earned its 2nd straight world title

People gather for funeral of seven children killed in fast-moving Halifax fire

Traditional portion of the service will be followed by words from community members

B.C. weavers to help Alaska Native project honouring survivors of violence

Dozens of Chilkat and Ravenstail weavers from all over North America will be weaving 5-inch-by-5-inch squares

B.C. skip Sarah Wark and team eliminated at Scotties Tournament of Hearts

Nontheless pretty impressive stuff from the 24th-ranked team in the country

Most Read