With the proposed updates to the Development Cost Charge Bylaw coming to council for the first time on July 10, we talked to different stakeholders in the community about how the changes could affect their businesses.
At the council meeting last week Mayor Mark Mckee reminded everyone that the process for updating the bylaw and changing the rates is not a done deal and that in the upcoming report there will be different options laid out by city staff, not just the proposed numbers that have been circulating so far.
“There will be another opportunity for the public to get involved,” he said.
Adding that, he is confident that in the end the changes that council approves will be good for everyone.
The Development Cost Charge Bylaw allows the city to charge developers and use the money to assist paying capital costs of installing services such as roads, sewer and water infrastructure, instead of that burden falling strictly on existing tax payers.
At the moment, developers pay around $12,300 per single family dwelling constructed with sanitary sewer. The proposed rates would increase that to around $31,500.
Charges for a multi-family dwelling with sanitary sewer would increase from around $7,500 to around $21,096.
For commercial spaces with sanitary sewer, developers would be charged $213.68 per square metre as opposed to $62.66 per square metre.
For industrial with sanitary sewer, developers would pay almost $450,000 per hectare as opposed to the current nearly $90,000 per hectare.
And for institutional builds (hospitals, schools, municipal buildings), developers would pay $153.38 per square metre as opposed to $69.11 per square metre.
There are other proposed increases as well for camping sites as well as different areas in the city.
But what will these proposed changes mean for businesses, homeowners and people living and visiting Revelstoke? Here are some of the comments the Review has received so far. If you would like to provide a comment on this issue please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Don Teuton is against an increase in Development Cost Charges.
“It will really destroy this place,” he said. “It will become the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.”
He believes that the current rates are too high and that they are the reason he hasn’t seen much development, besides at the resort, since he moved here in 2007.
He said that the rates being proposed at the moment will raise the costs of development well beyond the profit margins for developers and out of reach for people looking to build their own homes.
Right now the timing is critical, he said. He believes that if the city makes appropriate changes now that development might increase, but that if they increase the Development Cost Charge that there will be no going back, and that is when the locals will move and the housing market will shift to out-of-town visitors buying a second home.
“I want my kid to be able to stay here,” he said.
“The proposed changes to the DCC bylaw are short-sighted” said Peter Nielson, vice president of operations at Revelstoke Mountain Resort, in an email. “The majority of the infrastructure needs listed in the bylaw changes are not only needed because of new development, they’re needed by the existing tax base. To push the cost of fixing broken infrastructure entirely to new development is not only unfair, it will result in a lack of new development. Instead, we should be looking for ways to expand the tax base and encouraging growth that will provide revenue for the city in the long run.”
Revelstoke Mountain Homeowner’s Association
The association is very concerned that the proposed increase in DCC with drag on construction and employement and will be detrimental to the growth of the resort as well as the city, said Richard Tucker, president of the association.
“For the last ten years there has been virtually no development at RMR due to concerns about economic viability,” Tucker said in an email. “It is unlikely that increasing DCC’s by almost $20,000 per unit will improve economic viability of development at the resort.”
“(The association) is supportive of DCC’s as they are necessary to support growth of the City and its infrastructure,” he continued.
However, he said that the DCC must be fair, with both developers and existing residents sharing the burden of DCC related capital projects.
“The City seems to view DCC’s as a magic pot of gold gathered from new comers with minimal political or economic risk,” Tucker said.
He believes that if the charges are increased it will be tax payers and job seekers that pay the price as growth and development slow.
“City of Revelstoke debt and critical capital projects will continue to pile up with no funding available other than through aggressive tax increases further damaging growth and employment opportunities.”
He suggests that the only way for the city to move forward with the necessary capital projects is to encourage ad support growth through more efficient planning and building services and an accommodating DCC policy.
“The city will then be in a much better position to consistently gain both reasonable DCC’s and more importantly ongoing property tax revenue. Better still, if growth explodes in the future, DCC’s can always be increased by staff and council to moderate growth and increase revenues. Better to underachieve now and reap the gains later rather than risk killing growth altogether.”
Many business owners are angry and concerned about the proposed increase, however Jean-Marc LaFlamme of Startup Revelstoke, offered another way to look at Revelstoke’s future.
“The DCC is less important to how we harness the power of ourselves and solve these and many more issues to come,” he said in a statement to the Review. “Affordable living is at our doorstep with housing, food and transportation.”
He believes that by harnessing the talent of the innovators in the community that other solutions can be found.
“We have all the case studies and technology available today to find solutions,” LaFlamme said. “This is not us versus them scenario. The government is our public company and we owe it to ourselves to work positively inside and outside to find solutions for decades to come.”
He proposed launching a citizen engagement platform and engaging everyone on top issues in real time, harnessing creativity and living happily as we get “Stoked” for exponential change.