It has become apparent that there is a significant issue in obtaining timely local government approvals on Development Permits. We also believe that, with no source of recourse, local governments have the opportunity to withhold approvals until the applicant agrees to take on costs that may or may not be related to the specific project application.
The process for the application of Development Permits varies dramatically between Local Governments across the province. These variances cause confusion for the applicant and result in additional costs due to the uncertainty of the process.
Delays in application approvals are a result of a number of reasons including, but certainly not limited to, staffing levels in the local Government, and indecision by staff or politicians. These delays have proven costly to the applicants and may result in projects not being brought forward. The delays are costing jobs, Development Cost Charge fees and ongoing realty taxes. There is no incentive for staff or the politicians to move more quickly since they have all the say on the approvals.
All provinces and territories, save British Columbia and Quebec, have legislated mechanisms and protections which address all of the above concerns.
THE CHAMBER RECOMMENDS:
That the Provincial Government:
- amend the Local Government Act to:
- Establish reasonable timelines for the approval of development permits by the Local Government;
- Provide standard requirements for the submission of development permits to Local Government such as specific drawing requirements, traffic surveys, etc.
- Provide standard criteria for local government on which to approve development permit applications;
- Specify all costs which a local government may specifically attribute to a project; and
- ensure that should a Local Government not meet the requirements as specified in the Act, the applicant should have a right of appeal.