Greater Victoria amalgamation would solve tradespeople’s woes

Standardization of requirements between municipalities would help matters

Amalgamation is a word that seems to be either sung like a bird or hissed like a snake, depending on the tongue from which it spoken.

As a contractor in the Capital Region, I have been exposed to eight of the municipalities and their building officials through various aspects of building and development. Each time I have to deal with a new municipality, I get discouraged because of the inconsistencies between each one.

A great example is the application of rainscreen to new construction and renovations. In Saanich you are required to rainscreen, in Oak Bay you are not. How can you cross a street and have such different construction requirements?

Another example is the manner in which you book inspections. Saanich has a great system where you call in and book an inspection with the clerk, then the inspector calls you the morning of the inspection with a one-hour window. Victoria, on the other hand, has a number that you call, and nine times out of 10 you get an answering machine telling you that you cannot book an inspection by leaving a message. You have to keep calling until you get the clerk and are then issued a two-hour window.

In the building trades we have a great word: typical. It means you know what to expect – the exact opposite of what you get each time you have to deal with a different municipality in Greater Victoria.

We may not be ready for a full amalgamation, but I suggest and support that we start with the building trades to create some uniformity to the Capital Region.

Barrett Smith

Saanich