A Demolition and Deconstruction bylaw is going before Victoria council adding more time and costs to new housing during a housing affordability crisis.

The bylaw was created to reduce lumber in landfills yet applies only in cases where the new construction will be single-family homes and duplexes – the much needed “missing middle” housing for young families.

We estimate the added cost to be up to $20,000+ based on builders that have already deconstructed homes.

Also, the city will charge a $19,500 “refundable deposit” based on materials salvaged.

Inexplicably, Victoria’s deposit is 33% higher than the $14,650 charged by the City of Vancouver deconstruction bylaw.

It is disconcerting Victoria is following the practices of the most expensive and obstructive municipality in Canada – and adding 33%.

Even if a builder is able to satisfy the maze of expectations, municipalities often hold deposits for an extraordinary length of time, adding costs.

Victoria is targeting new single-family and missing-middle housing unable to take advantage of economies of scale.

Economies of scale is an economic principle where costs are spread out over a larger number of goods produced.

An example in the housing industry is spreading the costs of construction over a larger number of units, such as a large multi-family project.

That’s why developers ask for higher density – to help pay for municipal demands such as Development Cost Charges, community amenities, greenspace and new regulatory costs.

That said, everyone wants to reduce waste in landfills and there is a more affordable, effective way to accomplish this.

Municipal incentives would expand reduced waste responsibly without adding high costs to homebuyers.

Victoria could provide a discount on building permit fees, based on builders providing deconstruction and recycling invoices.

This would dovetail with industry programs such as Built Green, supported by VRBA, already promoting recycling and reduced construction waste.

Incentives would also prevent the inevitable bottleneck and higher costs resulting from few deconstruction companies in the industry.

Unfortunately, these suggestions have been ignored in favour of more bureaucratic regulation and costs.

If you would like to support the environment, efficiency and housing affordability in Victoria, oppose this bylaw and support an incentive program.

Council’s email is mayorandcouncil@victoria.ca

This column appears Wednesdays in the Times Colonist.

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