Development Cost Charges (DCCs) are fees collected from developers to help fund the cost of growth-related infrastructure and parks. Nvision’s five-storey, 95-unit rental building at 433 Boleskine Rd. in Saanich. (Black Press File Photo)

New Saanich bylaw to reduce cost to taxpayers for infrastructure upgrades

Bylaw governing development cost charges has not had a major update since 1998

Saanich council unanimously passed a new bylaw to increase development cost charges (DCCs) Monday night. This bylaw would ensure developers pay their fair share towards the cost of public infrastructure upgrades, which get more expensive and are required more often as the population grows.

Coun. Nathalie Chambers said taxpayers have been contributing the bulk of funds needed for infrastructure upgrades through property taxes they pay to the district each year, and this new bylaw would ensure everyone pays their fair share.

READ ALSO: Municipalities want fair share of cannabis taxes

DCCs are fees collected from property developers to help fund upgrades to infrastructure and parks to keep up with the needs of growing communities in B.C. by charging developers according to how much of a burden on infrastructure new buildings will pose. This includes road improvements, active transportation upgrades, sewer and water infrastructure, water drainage systems, and parks.

Chambers said DCCs are a “glaring source” of funds not being collected in the District. She said there are over 8,000 properties expected to be built in the District over the next 20 years. She said the bylaw has already been delayed for six months, at the cost of the taxpayer.

“It’s about making sure everyone pays their fair share,” Chambers said. “In that six months, the taxpayer has contributed about $2 million. By not paying higher DCCs, developers are forwarding the cost onto future generations.”

The District of Saanich’s supplemental report on DCCs dated Nov. 14 notes that Saanich now has new information on factors that influence DCC rates including: population and growth estimates, servicing requirements, construction and land acquisition costs, and growth-related infrastructure and park needs. This includes more current population statistics from the 2016 Census.

The existing DCC bylaw was created in 1997. An amendment bylaw was passed in 2016 to delete some properties from the DCC bylaw schedule. Cordova Bay is now also considered to be on an area-specific basis for DCC rates, separate from the rest of the District.

The bylaw will now go to the provincial government for approval, but council does not yet have an indication of how long that will take nor how much it will cost taxpayers in the meantime. If approved, the new bylaw will replace the one from 1997.

READ ALSO: Watchdog group says Saanich council needs a ‘reality check’ about taxes

sophie.heizer@saanichnews.com


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