Dear Bill: not the same old John anymore

June 22, 2008 at 10:20 pm | In housekeeping | 2 Comments

This week will continue in “blogging lite” mode as kids race to finish certain commitments that involve some help from me in the transportation department, while I take a stab at housekeeping on a couple of real and virtual fronts.

My brain is on fire with a wild idea, sparked by last week’s UDI luncheon where Alan Osborne from the Ministry of Community Services presented the Provincial Government’s reasoning behind Bill 27. (Green perspective here.) (A PDF describing Osborne’s recent presentation to a CRD panel here and a UVic presentation here.)

The big idea I’m having is that this Bill could provide a way (if the leadership were in place, if people with smarts were running things) for municipalities to assert real power, as opposed to letting the status quo languish under the guise of “municipalities in BC (and Canada) are but creatures of the Province(s), and therefore have no power to act.”

Incredibly, the Province of BC has handed municipalities a powerful, very very powerful tool with Bill 27: one that allows us (cities) to act with autonomy and strategy aforethought (vs being reactive and then blaming everyone else for our troubles).

I need to get this “brainstorm” into plus/minus 800-900 words by the end of this month, in time for my August FOCUS Magazine article. I’d like to get an additonal piece on Vibrant Victoria, too — it’ll be online and easily accessible there. So far, I haven’t seen much of anything remotely intelligent in the press on Bill 27. There’s the (NDP-friendly, fashionably lefty) Georgia Straight‘s somewhat partisan take, Bill 27: lowering B.C. housing prices or bankrupting municipalities?, but otherwise, not much. And sorry, guys at The Straight, but if you don’t see the power that this bill can give munis, you’re just blind. It will take real municipal leadership and clear thinking to seize the opportunity, however, so of course I’m not too optimistic….

2 Comments

  1. A local developer I talked to today said that this could help with affordability because Bill 27 can waive Development Cost Charges and when grouped with other cost-saving measures like the recent initiative to allow 6 storey wood-frame buildings, new rental construction suddenly becomes possible.

    There’s something on Bill 27 in Canwest’s North Shore News:

    City wants province to amend Bill 27

    By rolling the costs for building infrastructure such as water, sewer and sanitary services into development costs, the policy encourages suburban growth and sprawl.

    “The legislation is basically designed to support green field development, areas where there is no infrastructure,” Isabel Gordon, director of finance told council Monday.

    The city is penalized by this program as there are few to none of those opportunities here, she said.

    For that reason the city has never achieved a development cost charge for water or sanitary and sewer, she said.

    Comment by Robert Randall — June 24, 2008 #

  2. The presentation makes a lot of sense. The development process can be hugely expensive. Sustainable development adds cost.

    Comment by Jeffrey Raval, MD, FACS — June 27, 2008 #

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