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Homeowners should benefit from construction boom

In 2013 Campbell River Mayor Walter Jakeway wants City Hall to streamline its regulations governing secondary suites so that the community’s homeowners can benefit from the current construction boom.

“We need to approve secondary suites better. People should have an easier ability to have rental suites in their houses.”

Jakeway says not enough people are benefitting from the building boom.

“We need to house an awful lot of construction people coming to town. Having more secondary suites is a way to distribute the wealth through the community if workers are paying living accommodation throughout town,” he says.

The mayor says the major projects contractors are not building construction camps and that translates into rental opportunities for many homeowners. He says he has requested a report from staff on what is standing in the way of readily establishing more secondary suites.

“These suites still need to meet the building code requirements, but right now it is an awkward process. It is essential that early in the New Year we get on with it.”

As far as the scope of the boom is concerned, the mayor has compiled a list of more than 20 projects completed, underway and pending. They include everything from the relocation of the Mazda dealership and the completion of the Rotary Splash Park to the beginning of work on the new hospital and the John Hart Dam reconstruction project in 2013. Still, he says, not all sectors of the community are benefiting.

Jakeway says most of these projects are unfolding independent of anything the city is doing to promote growth such as advertising Campbell River’s merits in the broader marketplace.  Rivercorp notwithstanding, “formal economic development is not happening,” Jakeway says.

The mayor also says many taxpayers still find their dealings with City Hall to be annoying and frustrating, but he adds that changes introduced in 2012 are making it possible for more citizens to have a voice.

He points to the fact that the first half hour of every budget meeting is set aside for public input.

“We must listen to and respect our taxpayers,” he says, “they are our shareholders, not the enemy.”

Jakeway also believes taxpayers should feel confident that “despite the turmoil on council in 2012 that the city’s needs were met and everything that needed to be done got done.” Moving into 2013, he says, the city’s enviable debt load is only $2.5 million, the Community Centre debt is paid off, council is more efficient and its committee system is leaner.

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