“Certainly the 19 community meetings that were held, there was resounding support for rescinding it in its entirety,” explains PRRD Board Chair Karen Goodings.
Building Bylaw No. 1996, 2011 came into effect on March 18, 2013, requiring building permits for construction in all rural areas of the Regional District. Previously, building inspections were only required for a small portion of the rural area, including all of Area C.
It was met by stern opposition by residents, primarily because it was brought in without public consultation, and the large cost and extra work involved in having the PRRD oversee every step of building. A previous motion to repeal the new bylaw and institute a new one similar to the old one was defeated, in order for the Regional District to hear the public’s thoughts and concerns.
In total, 725 people attended the 19 meetings across the region, which were described as “sprited in nature with occasional heated discussions” in staff’s Executive Summary of the Community Conversations. Those who attended the meetings stressed the value of independence to rural residents, and argued for more “common sense” than “red tape”.
The recommendation to rescind the bylaw likely won’t be brought forward to the PRRD Board until a meeting in November. If it votes to do so, there would be no building bylaw for any of the Regional District.
“We have had some people come forward and say, ‘Where to from here?’, ‘What do you do about public buildings in rural areas?’, et cetera, and I’m not sure where we go with that,” admits Goodings, “but at this point if the board accepts this recommendation, there will be no building inspection in the electoral areas.”