Saanich developers should contribute amenities

District of Saanich needs a fair policy on the Community Amenity Contribution. Many municipalities have a policy

On behalf of the North Quadra Community Association, I want to thank you for running a story on the Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) in Saanich News of Jan. 6.

While I do note a minor typo error in the first line (the word contraptions should be contributions), I am very much appreciative of the fact this issue is put out for discussion amongst the other community associations and the development community.

The North Quadra Community, and the Saanich community in general, were left very impoverished while the landlords reaped a very high and generous increase in the land value when Saanich council approved the rezoning of 4247, 4253 and 4255 Dieppe Rd. in October of 2015. The land was rezoned with high (bonus) density, significant height variances and larger industrial land use with an extremely low and meager CAC.

We felt the community was treated very unfairly.

We were deeply disappointed, and strongly felt that District of Saanich needs a fair policy on the Community Amenity Contribution. Many municipalities have a policy. Why don’t we have a policy given that there are many proposed and pending developments in Saanich?

That said, and speaking personally, with due respect I strongly disagree with the position of B.C. Chamber of Commerce. The affordability is largely determined by the market, demand, general interest rates and economic cycles. The CACs are determined from the increase in the land value as a result of rezoning and/or the bonus density.

In effect, instead of the landowner/developer pocketing the total increase in the land value, it is only fair that such increase in the land value is shared with the community in order to add to or improve on the community amenities.

I still remember, more 25 years ago, a very respectable and experienced former Councillor John Mika having said that the zoning or granting a rezoning was a privilege, and it comes with the rules, regulations and compliance with the policies.

All we are asking is a fair policy on the Community Amenity Contributions. It is long overdue and must be treated as a high priority.

Haji CharaniaSaanich

 

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