The BC government created a “Development Cost Charges Best Practices Guide” for municipalities to promote stable, reasonable fee increases for infrastructure upgrades like sewer and water, roads as well as parks.

 

Yet many still need to adopt the practices.

 

The guide says DCC’s must be applied with “Fairness and Equity, Accountability, and Certainty.”

 

Certainty should be built into the DCC process, both in terms of stable charges and orderly construction of infrastructure. Stability of DCC rates will assist the development industry in the planning of their projects.”

 

However, some municipalities are adopting significant raises creating a shock for builders and the homebuyers that ultimately pay for these sharp increases.

 

Central Saanich boosted their DCC’s by more than 100% and now Saanich has done the same, lacking stability and undermining both planning and affordability.

 

The municipalities have also adopted the Step Code adding thousands of dollars to the cost of new home construction.

 

Many charge inspection permit fees according to “value of construction” rather than a fee for service as suggested by the province.

 

The permit fees rise with housing costs rather than the cost of providing inspection services resulting in big surpluses for municipalities at the expense of homebuyers.   

 

A recent study by the C.D Howe Institute revealed government regulations, taxes and fees such as DCC’s add more than a quarter of a million dollars to new homes in Greater Victoria.

 

The province’s Best Practices Guide was created to add stability and predictability to some of these government costs.

 

It appears greater accountability to senior levels of government is needed to ensure municipalities adopt more reasonable and predictable fees.

 

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

 

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