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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – City council discussed its strategic goals for the future and the Development Cost Charge updated bylaw at Tuesday’s Committee of the Whole.

City Manager Diane Hunter presented the Fort St. John Strategic Plan for 2018-2023 which consisted of five goals:

  1. Enhance community economic development to provide opportunities and sustainability for Fort St. John.
  2. Demonstrate leadership in environmental responsibility through sustainable and effective practices for municipal operations.
  3. Build and manage public assets and human resources that support the current and future needs to the community.
  4. Initiate and foster partnerships that will benefit Fort St. John. Advocate to decision makers on issue that impact the community.
  5. Actualize downtown Fort St. John as a social, vibrant, liveable hub as articulated in the Fort St. John Downtown Action Plan.

Council was very pleased with the proposed five year plan.

John Dumbrell of Urban Systems and Fort St. John’s General Manager of Integrated Services Victor Shopland presented Council with the Development Cost Charge bylaw update, which adds transportation, drainage and parks to the current list of water and sewage. The City currently has 100 per cent assist factor on those three items. Where the subsidization of development is done with general taxation dollars or Peace River agreement money.

The current DCC asks for the city to cover a 15 percent assist for the cost of water and sewage, with the developer covering the other 85 percent. The city currently pays 100 percent for transportation, drainage and parks. With the updated bylaw, by year five the city would subsidize 15 percent on top of the 15 percent already being paid for water and sewage with the developer covering the rest of the cost for new homes in subdivisions.

With the proposed add-ons, the city would lower that assists factor to 40 per cent for the years one and two, year three and four would see that number drop to 25 per cent and in year five that number would be 15 per cent for the city, on top of the 15 per cent for water and sewage. Exceptions from the DCC would be:

  • Previously approved subdivisions and building permits where DCCs already
  • New subdivisions where application has been submitted and fee paid – 12
    months after new DCC Bylaw adoption
  • New building permits issued within 12 months of new DCC Bylaw adoption
    where application for building permit (or preceding development permit /
    rezoning) is in-stream on date of new DCC Bylaw adoption

The city was looking at lowering the current assist factor arrangement for transportation, drainage and parks as they are currently sitting at 100 per cent assist factor in that the city is subsidizing the development out of general taxation or the Peace Region agreement money.

It’s expected the new updated bylaw will be put in place by March of 2018.

Council agreed that this type of easing into new assist factors has worked in the past and they would like to implement it.

The entire Committee of the Whole meeting can be watched here:

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