Building a better bylaw

Cranbrook council is hoping to update the city’s 26-year-old building bylaw

  • Jun. 19, 2013 5:00 p.m.

The City is putting forward a new building bylaw it hopes will help maintain a high quality of building construction in the city and also update the city’s 26-year-old building bylaw.

The City also hopes that it can minimize exposure to liability resulting from involvement in issuing building permits for construction and building inspections.

Council was planning to do first and second reading of the bylaw at the June 10 meeting, but decided to postpone it after Coun. Denise Pallesen noted that there was correspondence in the agenda package pertaining to the specific bylaw.

“I hate to do this, but I’d like more time to have a good read of this,” Pallesen said. “There’s so much information in here and I just want to make sure that I’m making an informed decision.”

The bylaw will be postponed until the July 15 meeting, so that all of council is present.

CAO Wayne Staudt said that city staff would likely recommend doing the first three readings at that time to move the process along quicker.

The building bylaw will see the city increase building fees to help offset the administration costs of processing building permits and inspections, according to city staff, and would not be intended to generate revenue.

The city did a review of the current application fees, comparing to the relative average admin costs with processing building permits and inspections, and found that the cost was not being recovered by the city.

“In consideration of a comparative analysis against other jurisdictions, within and outside of the region, indicates that the City’s fees are insufficient at achieving even a modest level of cost recovery and are below the average fees charged by other jurisdictions,” city staff wrote in the report for council.

Staff’s report shows that when compared to other municipalities in the area, the fees are lower.

For instance, the proposed fee for 2013 is $330 for a $40,000 permit, up $20 from the current fee structure put together in 1995. Kimberley, by comparison already had a fee of $370 by 2009 for the same permit amount, and Creston had a fee of $450 in 2011 for the amount.

The city will raise the fee for the next three years, from the current $310, to $330 in 2013, $370 in 2014 and $410 in 2015.

A $200,000 building permit in Cranbrook is currently about $850. The new bylaw calls for an increase to $1,130 in 2013, $1,330 in 2014 and $1,530 in 2015.

The report noted that the proposed fees in the new bylaw are still slightly below the provincial average. The report recommends reviewing the fee permit structure every two years to keep it current.

The City’s current building bylaw was adopted in 1987 and the City said there have been few amendments over the years.

The bylaw will be up for first, second and third reading July 15.

Find out more info on the building bylaw in the agenda package of the June 10 council meeting at https://cranbrook.civicweb.net.