Development Cost Charge bylaw not yet in place

As The Mayor Sees It with District of Barriere Mayor Bill Humphreys

A few weeks ago I wrote that the District council will be considering a staff recommendation to put a Development Cost Charge (DCC) bylaw in place.

Recently I heard that residents were told that recent developments done under the previous council had been charged Development Cost Charges. This is incorrect, as to this date there is not a DCC bylaw on the books, and therefore the charges have not been formulated and cannot have been charged.

I also stated that some would be against the development of DCC’s. I believe this to be true once residents and other stakeholders are given the facts around what is proposed. We need to remember that DCC’s are only one method of creating an equitable cost sharing during a community’s growth, and they need to be carefully considered prior to such a bylaw being passed.

Most politicians tend to like these bylaws as they produce revenue. In some cases in the rush to create a new revenue stream the cost to the existing general tax payers is glossed over. Yes, it is true; those of you that pay property taxes now will pay more when and if DCC’s are applied.

In the creation of the DCC rates there is a calculation for how much existing users will pay to upgrade the various types of infrastructure for services like water and roads that are involved in any new development. Since existing users will benefit from the upgrades the theory is that the cost should be shared.

Then an assist factor is calculated. The assist factor is the contribution that the existing population must provide to assist future growth in paying its portion of the new infrastructure costs. The assist factor is over-and-above the portion of the total infrastructure cost that is allocated to existing users as stated previously.  No guidance is provided by the Ministry as to the setting of the assist factor. It is set in various municipalities from as low as one percent to as high as 50 per cent. This is largely a political decision.

Prior to going down the road of DCC bylaws and other methods of collecting funds for future infrastructure needs to support growth, a well defined servicing plan needs to be developed and tied to the District financial plan. I would ask that everyone concerned please take the time to see if these plans are what they feel fit the needs of our community.

Future growth planning is not an easy task, and any flaws in the plan can have dire consequences on all concerned. Highway access problems and unnecessary easement creation are some examples that can place restrictions on development.

All the parties need to be consulted. This includes the development industry and existing ratepayers that may be affected by a DCC program. They all should be afforded meaningful opportunities to participate in the DCC decision-making process.

The Communities in Bloom judges have made their visit to Barriere. Karri Loadman from Kamloops, and Teresa Williams from Hope, where here to ask questions, tour the area and attend some entertainment.

I want to say thank you to the judges for their efforts as well as to the Communities in Bloom committee and the many volunteers that worked long hours to tidy up everywhere that they could think of, plant flowers and other plants and care for the various displays around town. I know you all do this for many more reasons than just the possibility of winning a competition, and our community is much better off through your efforts.

Most of our community volunteers work and contribute simply for the joy of seeing their collective efforts make a difference. They toil in the background, and do not want or expect recognition on a personal basis.

For some though, the need to be personally recognized is paramount, and to that end I should perhaps mention what a great job Mike and Steve did cleaning up around the old HY Louie building.  Most of the community know this already since they have a sign out front, but I was told I would be remiss if I did not mention what a good job they and their helpers did. Many thanks to you all.