District of Sechelt councilors expressed relief at having finally passed a new Development Cost Charge (DCC) Bylaw at their Feb.1 regular meeting.
“It has been a long time coming,” said Councillor Noel Muller. “Throughout the whole development of this process I’ve really been looking at it through the lens of the real large scale infrastructure deficit that exists in most municipalities. Here in Sechelt we’ve decided to take some action on that.”
DCCs are fees charged to developers for new subdivisions, rezoning, development permits and building permits. The funds collected pay for public infrastructure such as sewers, roads, drainage and parks. Sechelt has consolidated its DCC charges into a single bylaw and raised most of the rates. Muller estimated that income from the increased fees would see “somewhere close to half of our infrastructure problem dealt with.”
Councillor Darren Inkster said: “It’s more reflective of the costs of providing services.”
The new bylaw takes effect immediately. Development applications that are already in process will have a one year grace period, but the bylaw applies to all new applications.
Councillor Alice Lutes, presiding over the meeting as Acting Mayor, also commented on the length of the process. “In my first year on council, which is now almost nine years ago, we talked about this bylaw,” she said.
The Bylaw was given third reading by Council in November, but had to be forwarded to the Deputy Inspector of Municipalities for review. Statutory Approval was granted on December 21, 2016. Donna McMahon