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West Van building extension fee priciest in the Lower Mainland: homeowner
West Vancouver’s on a cash grab, says one local resident.
Claus Jensen is upgrading a house he’s called home for 35 years. After running out of time on his 18-month building permit, due to bad weather and encountering soft ground, Jensen was forced to apply for two six-month extensions. What caught him off guard were the pricetags attached. The two permits cost $3,494 each, approximately 50 per cent of the original building permit, he says. Included were fees for inspection work which had already been paid for.
West Van’s building extension permit price is up to 10 times higher than other municipalities, Jensen says, noting around B.C. they range from $40 in Kelowna to $285 in Vancouver.
The District of North Vancouver charges 10 per cent of the original building permit or $67, which ever is greater. The City of North Vancouver also bills 10 per cent of the original permit or $100.
Jensen is suggesting West Van council have a flat fee of $200. “I hope they adjust it so it is reasonable,” he says.
West Vancouver introduced the high payment a number of years ago as a way to deter slow construction, says Bob Sokol, the district’s director of planning, lands and permits. The municipality had received a number of complaints from residents stating ongoing construction was disturbing their neighbourhoods, he says.
Staff has agreed to re-examine the charge and present a report to council in September. The district will look into whether there is a way to charge more to construction projects that continually break municipal bylaws and less to projects that respect them.