Building trades and land developers in Sooke, feeling ignored by city hall, have started a new advocacy group.
The Sooke Builders Association comprises a cross-section of construction industry stakeholders, including builders, contractors and suppliers concerned about development and regulation.
“Everything has been in quicksand for some time,” said Herb Haldane, a founding group member and owner of Haldane Homes in Sooke.
The construction industry is at odds with the District of Sooke in a dispute involving the rewrite of the official community plan and the lack of input from developers centred around housing and zoning.
Builders for years have also complained about the time it takes to be issued a building permit in Sooke and the paperwork needed to complete even a simple house build.
“To navigate the system (at Municipal Hall) is so problematic that the average person does not have the tools to do it,” Haldane said. “I’m helping about a dozen applicants right now who are working on subdividing a one-lot subdivision or building a suite in their home.”
Mayor Maja Tait welcomes the news of a new builders association, which she says will help district council build a relationship with the building and development community.
“The builders association (will be) a valuable resource for us, as it allows us to access expertise and better understand why we are facing obstacles,” Tait said. “If I don’t understand the red tape, I don’t know how to cut it.”
The development community and local politicians also await details on the province’s new housing plan.
The plan includes adding density in areas currently zoned single-residential and near transit, legalizing secondary suites coupled with financial incentives for homeowners who build such suites, expanding the existing speculation and vacancy tax to other areas creating a tax designed to discourage the flipping of properties.