Letter: Call for council to look at development cost charges in Oak Bay

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When Oak Bay staff hired Opus International Consultants, to complete their 2016 Asset Management Report, the results were financially sobering. The report estimates $250 million is needed for the replacement cost of Oak Bay’s infrastructure which is “in poor and fair condition and needs to be replaced as soon as possible.”

With this financial wake-up call, one questions why we are not utilizing what other municipalities do to raise money?… DCCs.

Why is Oak Bay the only municipality in the CRD to not collect Development Cost Charges? DCCs are levied to help cover the cost of expanding or improving transportation, water, sewer, storm drainage. By charging developers DCCs to develop subdivisions and multi-family units, we could acquire a tidy sum of money immediately, to be put towards our costly infrastructure upgrades.

Recently, I asked a solicitor for a municipality in the GVRD whether it would be unusual for a municipality not to charge DCCs? The solicitor’s reply was yes, unless the municipality had enough money in its reserve funds.

Our municipality only has a reserve fund of $20 million, but the majority of this is dedicated for other purposes, (police, fire, legal).

I urge council to pass a motion to create a bylaw, so that we can start charging DCCs like every other well-run municipality. Council must act on this right away, for without addressing the problem, council is abrogating their responsibility.

Rachel McDonnell

Oak Bay

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