DCCs discussed ay council open house

An open house helped explain the changes being proposed for Development Cost Charges

The District of Sooke held an open house regarding proposed changes to the Development Cost Charges (DCC) bylaw, that would separate the current bylaw and see road DCCs increase on July 5 at council chambers.

According to Mayor Wendal Milne, the main reason for the increase is to gather funds to open up the waterfront along Sooke’s town core, namely projects  on Goodmere Road.

“Part of the DCC money would go towards that,” he said, adding some of the properties in the area are currently “landlocked” with the only access being Felton Lane.

The projects that will open up the waterfront include the Goodmere Road collector (from Murray Road to Mariner’s Village) and Waterview Street collector (from Sooke Road to the new Goodmere Road).

There are also plans to widen Murray Road.

“What this will do is open up this area publicly, so people can get close to the water,” he said, adding increased access will hopefully encourage development of apartment buildings and condominiums.

“This area is serviced by sewer now, so it makes sense to fill it out rather then put in new sewer lines somewhere else,” Milne said. “We want to use the sewer lines we have in the ground.”

The district currently has eight road DCC projects with a cost estimate of approximately $12.7 million, about $9.2 million will be covered by DCCs and $3.5 million will be covered by the district.

Road DCC increases are listed below:

Single family homes, per unit, will increase from $3,172.79 to $3,548.27.

Townhouse, per dwelling unit, will increase from 2,052.98 to 2,295.94.

Apartment, per dwelling unit, will increase from $1,928.56 to 2,156.79.

Commercial, per sq. metre of gross floor area, will increase from $43.55 to $48.70.

On top of new transportation projects, road DCCs are changing due to increased construction costs, to reflect current DCC reserves, and updated growth projections.

According to Fraser Smith, lead engineer with Urban Systems, the single family, multi-family and commercial growth for Sooke is expected to be 3.5 per cent every year from 2006-2011.

“DCCs are all about the future and the new development that’s coming and their needs, as opposed to operating and maintaining,” Smith said.

DCCs for roads are used to fund capital infrastructure projects related to growth, like new collector roads, road widening, intersection improvements and signalization.

They are not used to pay for maintenance or operation of existing roads.

Bylaw 202 was instituted in 2004, and has collected a total of $3.5 million for the road program.

Council is the review the proposed changes to the road DCCs.

DCCs for wastewater will remain unchanged, but council is expected to review them in the future.