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Province introducing legislation to account for construction delays, extra costs

The province says they are introducing legislation to account for construction delays and extra costs to speed up processes for infrastructure in growing communities.

The government says it compliments recently introduced Bill 44, which aims to increase housing supply in B.C. Some high-growth communities continue to use the rezoning process to negotiate with homebuilders for needed amenities, which they say can be lengthy and add unexpected building costs.

The legislation would require local governments to shift their planning to an upfront framework, pre-zoning land to meet housing needs and reduce the use of current zoning practices, according to the province.

This will be done through an amenity cost charge, which means the costs will be included in the planning process rather than during the rezoning stage to create a clearer picture of the total cost from the start.

“As we take decisive action to deliver the kinds of homes people in B.C. are looking for, we’re also making sure communities and builders have the efficient and transparent tools they need to plan for growth with certainty,” said housing minister Ravi Kahlon.

“By doing this, we’re not just building homes for people, but also more sustainable, well-planned communities.”

They add it also makes changes to development cost charges, which is a tool that allows local governments to collect funds from builders to help pay for specific infrastructure like water, sewer, drainage and roads.

The changes would let governments move the funds collected to support other services like fire halls, police facilities and solid waste facilities. They say before this, the only option was to recover these costs with property taxes.

City of Courtenay mayor Bob Wells adds the things they will mostly be looking at include water pressure and sewage, among other infrastructure needs to accommodate a potential growth in the community.

Cost-shared provincial highway projects, such as interchanges and highway exit that benefit the community are also included, according to the province.

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