Williams Lake City Council will be forwarding an amended Development Cost Charge Bylaw to the Inspector of Municipalities for approval after giving second and third readings Tuesday.
Mayor Walt Cobb says the previous bylaw has been there for years and needed to be upgraded.
“We didn’t change the fees that much but there were some changes,” he says.
“There was a fair amount of money collected over the last 15-20 years on development cost charges that are sitting in an account that we can’t spend because it was never identified exactly where the money was collected for.”
“When a developer builds a subdivision they’re responsible for putting in the water, the sewer, the lights, the roads, and all that kind of stuff,” says Cobb.
“What the development cost goes is per lot. So if you bought a lot in a new subdivision you would pay $2,000 some odd dollars that would come to the City so that as the community expands it gives us the opportunity to upgrade some of the facilities…Let’s say because of a new subdivision we need a new reservoir. We couldn’t expect that small area to pay for that reservoir so by doing development cost charges that money goes into an account so that when the population gets to that stage there’s enough money to put that reservoir in.”
About $2 million dollars according to Cobb has been collected through Development Cost Charges over the years.
“Now if we get approval from the Province we will be able to now start spending that money for where it is identified for,” says Cobb noting that the charges are line with other communities within the vicinity.
Councillor Craig Smith said during the meeting that the amended Bylaw had taken three years to get to this point.
“We have to remain competitive,” said Smith… “We’ve had a lot of thought and work done by staff. I’m quite comfortable with all of the figures the way they are.”
The bylaw Councillor Ivan Bonnell said proposes a vision for the future over the next 20 years.
“We anticipate that we’re going to have new capital improvement costs of about $20 million dollars to accommodate the next 20 years of growth in the community in both the residential, institutional, and commercial sectors. Based upon the number of projections that we have here with these cost estimates being applied to each subject property we’ve recouped that $20 million dollars to address those new capital improvements over the course of 20 years.”
Two residents expressed their concerns prior to Council unanimously agreeing to the readings including John Pickford who said that a total development cost charge of $2,183 per lot for a single-family dwelling was too low in his mind.
“Right now is the time we need additional development in the community,” said Councillor Scott Nelson.
“We don’t have enough houses being built so the last thing I want to do is put rates that are going to be prohibitive and discourage investment in our community. This will also give us access to that additional $2 million dollars that we didn’t have access to over the last couple of years.”
Council also agreed that staff respond to the concerns that were raised during the public input session and report back to Council.
“I am concerned about our ability to listen to the comments that the public raised here this evening,” said Bonnell.
“I recognize going for second and third reading, and then sending it off to Victoria for approval would shut off public discussion, but I would like at least a report coming back addressing the points that the public raised this evening because I believe there is a misunderstanding of what is being contained here in this bylaw.”