Proposed improvements to Dunsmuir Park in Electoral Area H. (RDN image)

Proposed improvements to Dunsmuir Park in Electoral Area H. (RDN image)

Regional District of Nanaimo considering collecting new parks charges from developers

Feedback from stakeholders will be included in draft parks development cost charges program

The Regional District of Nanaimo will give the public and stakeholders the chance to give their input on a proposed regional parks development cost charges program.

Urban Systems, which the RDN hired in 2019, developed DCC programs for regional and community parks in Electoral Areas A, B, G and H, including areas of Cedar, Yellow Point and Gabriola Island. Four other electoral areas (C, D, E and F) opted out of the initiative that is geared toward collecting funds from developers for parkland acquisition and improvement.

The creation of a regional parks DCC program has been in the works since 2007. That included studies conducted by HB Lanarc Consultants in 2007 and a funding service review by Neilson-Welch in 2017. The RDN did not adopt any of them.

RELATED: RDN considering development charges to go towards park in rural areas

Regional parks and trails funding methods are currently applied by the RDN for acquiring and developing regional or community parks and trails. The RDN does use DCCs for sewer and water services but does not have parks DCCs. All municipalities within the RDN charge parks DCCs, including the City of Nanaimo, City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and District of Lantzville.

Urban Systems has come up with DCC rates and programs that will require the RDN board’s consideration. But before that happens, the consultant will conduct community and stakeholder engagement sessions. The stakeholders will include Oceanside Development and Construction Association and the Nanaimo branch of Canadian Home Builders Association.

The creation of the DCC program involved a myriad of technical analyses to determine the growth for the RDN and electoral areas A, B, G and H. It also included a project list with timelines and costs and the relative benefit of each project to new versus existing growth.

Over a 20-year period, the proposed Electoral Area Parks DCC cost shares for parks improvement are:

• Electoral Area A — $14,850 (developers), $10,150 (RDN)

• Electoral Area B — $63,360 (developers), $256,640 (RDN)

• Electoral Area G — $319,176 (developers), $83,824 (RDN)

• Electoral Area H — $399,368 (developers), $439,634 (RDN)

The money from community parks charges would cover the costs for drainage and irrigation, playground equipment, restrooms, changerooms, landscaping and fencing.

Feedback from the public and stakeholder consultation will be incorporated into the draft DCC program and rates for review and consideration by the RDN’s electoral area services committee. If supported by the committee and RDN board, the draft program would be brought back to the RDN board for three readings and review by the inspector of municipalities.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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