Some ‘bad apples’ led to the city’s crackdown

A few “bad apples” led the city to crack down on building developers and enforce tougher rules

A few “bad apples” led the city to crack down on building developers and enforce tougher rules, admitted one councillor last week amid accusations the city is not treating all developers equally.

The revelation came following a complaint brought forward by Merecroft apartment developer Brett Giese after he was told he was required to pay the cost of undergrounding power lines along his proposed development – something other recent city projects were exempt from.

“I have the distinct feeling that if I had not made a direct inquiry about undergrounding the service, my development would have passed without installation of service or payment of a bond as have (other) projects,” Giese wrote in a letter to council. “There hasn’t been a level playing field since the bylaw was passed two years ago, and I do not understand how can staff decide that the next development permit that walks through the door will be the one to set an example for all of the others.”

Giese is upset he has to pay a 125 per cent bond to the city to ensure the work will be done, as well as 100 per cent out of pocket costs for the actual landscaping.

Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, explained in a report to council that the bond is necessary to keep developers honest.

“The city is entitled to require a landscape bond by virtue of…the Local Government Act and utilizes this mechanism to ensure compliance with the DP (development permit) plans approved by council and the replacement of any planting failures,” he said. “Without this, there would be no tool (to ensure compliance).”

Coun. Andy Adams admitted at the Aug. 14 council meeting that the bond became necessary because developers that were required to install property frontage improvements such as sidewalks, curbs, gutters, street trees, and undergrounding of overhead wires, weren’t following through with the improvements they promised in their draft plans.

“I’ll be candid, there were a few bad apples who spoiled it for the rest and…in order to get that certainty, it’s been applied for everybody,” Adams said. “In no way is this a reflection on any current or future developers as far as our confidence or trust in what they will do. I will say, past councils have been burned in the past.”

Adams said it was council that asked staff to request a landscape bond from the applicant during the building permit stage to avoid any major deviations.

However, after hearing Giese describe the bond’s financial burden, Adams wondered if a compromise could be made.

“One thing I would ask staff to consider, in hearing from the delegation, (is) how is there a way we can assist the developer in mitigating that requirement, that lessens the financial burden on the developer, while guaranteeing the work will be done that’s proposed,” Adams said.

To take it one step further, council passed a motion directing staff to come back with a report reviewing the bylaw to determine if exceptions should be made to frontage improvements.

Just Posted

Habitat for Humanity North Island wants to keep momentum going

Organization asks City of Campbell River for more land to build homes for young families

28 townhouses on the way to 525 Dogwood

Council approves latest phase of development, but not before expressing traffic concerns

Diver discovers possible historic anchor off Campbell River

The rusted, barnacle-encrusted anchor was wedged into the bottom off Quadra Island… Continue reading

Leigh wants Strathcona Regional District budget amended over water rates

Area D Director cites punitive water rates as a reason to slow down process

Cold weather puts pressure on homeless shelters in Campbell River

Salvation Army and Sobering Centre offer a total of 40 beds

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read