Regional District of Nanaimo directors debated a proposal about a parks development cost charges program at their committee of the whole meeting Feb. 11. (Black Press file)

RDN considering development charges to go toward parks in rural areas

Motion deferred in order to allow for further consultation

The Regional District of Nanaimo is currently considering a proposal that could see development cost charges going toward regional and community parks within rural areas.

Following a meeting last May, the RDN commissioned Urban Systems, a consultant, to develop a payment regime for the fees charged to land developers and used for capital projects (such as sewers and roads) coming about because of new development. Directors were set to vote on bringing the proposal to public consultation Tuesday, but Lehann Wallace (Area G director) asked it be deferred to allow staff and Urban Systems representatives to meet with rural directors to discuss projects listed in the report.

A regional parks DCC, where new residential developments across the RDN would see single-family dwellings charged a total of $563 per lot, and multi-family dwellings $376 per unit, was one of the DCCs suggested in the Urban Systems report. Money collected would go toward parkland acquisition.

The other, a community parks DCC for electoral areas, would be levied on new residential developments within electoral areas, save for Areas C and F, who have opted not to consider such charges. Charges for new single family dwelling developments in the South Wellington-Cassidy-Cedar (Area A) would be $87 per lot, while Gabriola Island area (Area B) would be charged $679 per, Nanoose Bay (Area E) $650, French Creek-San Pareil-Little Qualicum-Englishman River (Area G) $878 per and Bowser-Qualicum Bay-Deep Bay (Area H) $773 per. New multi-family dwellings for Area A would be charged $58 per unit, while Area B would be charged $453 per, Area E $434 per, Area G $586 per and Area H $515 per.

RELATED: RDN looks at funding sources for acquiring, improving parkland

The money from community parks charges would finance items such as drainage and irrigation, playground equipment, restrooms, changerooms, landscaping and fencing.

The RDN told the News Bulletin the difference between charges for Area A and other areas is due to differences in the project list and projected growth for each area.

“This is an important initiative, especially when we have electoral area boundaries, so [if] one area does it, the other doesn’t, this can drive change, maybe not necessarily in the best direction,” Wallace said.

Phyllis Carlyle, RDN chief administrative officer, said the matter could be brought back to the RDN’s Feb. 25 board meeting or the committee of the whole meeting March 3.

Municipalities within the RDN already have DCCs going to parks.

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