Building permits debated

A report on a building permit service framework for the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District has been tabled

  • Aug. 31, 2014 5:00 p.m.

BARB BROUWER

Black Press

A report on a building permit service framework for the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District has been tabled with electoral area directors.

Chief administrative officer Charles Hamilton said the draft report is the first of three phases in a process that began in 2011, and suggested directors accept it as information only.

“We’ll see what the composition of the board is after elections and look at it then,” he said of the report prepared by consultants.

“When we do get into presentations there are a lot of advantages, but there are disadvantages. From an enforcement point of view, we can’t capture everything that we would with full-scale inspection.”

When presented to rural directors three years ago, the concept was to explore a new approach to building approvals with a service that achieves greater compliance with local standards and community goals, while considering concerns related to the introduction of new development fees and regulations.

“The proposed service does not introduce the full range of building permit and inspection regulation,” reads the report summary. “When compared to comprehensive building permit and inspection services offered by local governments elsewhere in the province, the proposed service includes fewer activities subject to permit requirements, fewer application requirements and fewer inspections.”

Development services manager Gerald Christie noted CSRD could support expanding building inspection.

“It would require some additional support from development services staff, but could accommodate coverage,” he said. “The only caveat would be an increase in the travel budget for meals and gas.”

A zoning bylaw under construction now will be in place by 2015, and directors agreed an education program will have to be rolled out in electoral areas.

Hamilton was pleased directors did not oppose the notion of building permits contained in the report as has been the case with some electoral area directors in the past.

“I am wearing you directors down, and am quite excited about that,” he laughed.

Director Rhona Martin reminded directors how much money has been laid out over the years for people who have built in the wrong place.

“But you hear from people that they have to wait too long for building inspectors,” she said. “They’re booked up, on vacation, on and on and on. It’s frustrating.”

Director Paul Demenok agreed it would be appropriate to delay detailed discussion on the report until after the election.