One of the challenges of being a developer and builder is explaining our business model and the opportunity for community revitalization to elected officials and the public.

For example, if the community expects amenities, significant green space, tree preservation and affordable housing, this must be accommodated in the development business model.

In other words, there must be a way to pay for it.

Additional expenses include development cost charges, building permit fees, provincial Property Transfer Tax, new BC Building Code regulations, and much more.

Also, Victoria’s land prices are some of the highest in North America. The only way to achieve many of these expectations is to rezone for higher density or to lower expectations.

The costs of a project must be accommodated by the new home purchasers at a price point they can afford. This is true in the manufacture of any product.

Urban development education, in partnership with the provincial education system and municipalities, could outline the importance of community revitalization, new tax revenue, business risk, and housing affordability.

Presently, much of this education takes place when developers and builders present their project proposals at public hearings – a less than ideal environment for education.

Proposals may be based on Official Community Plans yet the public hearings may be attended by groups opposing the project in a highly politicized environment.

Not all developments deserve approval, but many are rejected because developers and builders are unable to deliver projects based on unrealistic expectations.

An ongoing, education program supported by the province in our schools and communities would help existing and future residents understand the development business and perhaps pave the way for more agreement, as well as more housing affordability.

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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