Saanich is proposing to raise Development Cost Charges (DCC’s) to some of the highest in Greater Victoria – $16,360 for a new single family home.

DCC’s pay for infrastructure upgrades like sewer and water, roads as well as parks.

Victoria’s DCC’s are $6,558, Central Saanich – $9,264, Colwood – $9,661.

Langford’s DCC’s are $13,579 but they have small lots and the most efficient development permit processes, a big advantage for housing affordability.

On the other hand, Saanich has some of the most challenging and costly permit processes.

In addition, Saanich already receives $1 million in annual surpluses from home inspection fees which are inappropriately based on the value of the house, not cost of inspection.

Govts are driving up costs to the point where DCC’s, fees and taxes add more than a quarter of a million dollars to the price of a new home in Greater Victoria.

Other costs borne by homebuyers are GST, School Tax, Property Transfer Tax (PTT) and proposed Speculation Tax, which taxes bare land as well as homes.

All of these charges end up being paid by homebuyers.

The BC govt already receives more than $2 billion annually from PTT, more than mining, forestry and natural gas combined.

Thousands of dollars in School Tax and Speculation Tax must be paid annually while developers wait years for municipalities to process permit applications.

About $6,000 of Saanich’s proposed $16,360 DCC is for park acquisition, yet the municipality already expects developers to donate parks and green space worth millions of dollars.

Layering excessive costs on new homebuyers is both unfair and undermines affordability.

Issues such as this should receive healthy debate by all candidates during the upcoming municipal elections on October 20.

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This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.