There’s always room for a little give and take between local governments yet it seems Central Saanich is finding it hard to budge when it comes to Bayside Middle School.
Instead, some of the more left-leaning municipal councillors would rather have the province give a little more.
School District 63 (Saanich) is asking the council to waive the remainder of its building permit fee — it has already paid $13,000 of an estimated $50,000 bill — as it tries to cut costs associated with its highly publicized roof replacement project.
According to the school district’s architect, bids have come in, in excess of their anticipated price tag of more than $5 million. So, in an attempt to retain much of the original plan, they are trying to find some savings — including around $37,000 in building permit fees to Central Saanich.
Councillor Alicia Holman feels this is a matter for the province — that they should be ponying up more cash to cover the added costs. Coun. Zeb King added he feels the province is letting the school district “do its dirty work” in making this request.
It’s an easy position to take. Instead of doing a little work and seriously considering doing their part for a local community amenity, it appears the council would rather let someone else do it.
It’s not a position taken up all the time by their neighbours. In Sidney, for example, the council decided to waive building permit fees (among other fees) for a proposed multi-storey and multi-million dollar affordable housing project. They believed in the need for this amenity and backed it up how they could. Affordable housing is another societal issue that could have easily been foisted back upon the province — except in this case, Sidney considered it a local issue as well.
Central Saanich should seriously consider the school district’s request and explore waiving the fees to help this community facility.
It’s a drop in the bucket — yet part of the work needed to ensure there are no more drops in the buckets brought out by Bayside staff when it rains.