Construction within the Regional District of Nanaimo. (PQB News file photo)

Construction within the Regional District of Nanaimo. (PQB News file photo)

Regional District of Nanaimo trying to speed up building permit process

RDN hires two new staff members

A Nanoose Bay resident has raised concerns about the Regional District of Nanaimo’s timelines in issuing building permits.

Mark Jones said the processing has been slow due to resource constraints at the RDN’s building deparment. The delays, he said, have an impact on thousands of people particularly at time when the region faces housing issues.

Jones is in the process of building two homes on his acreage. He appeared before the electoral area services committee recently after applying for a building permit in February, not hearing back, and then addressing his concerns with Nanoose Bay director Bob Rogers. Jones was told the RDN’s building department has been undermanned and has had difficulties hiring building inspectors.

“Right now the housing crisis is negatively impacting every community in the RDN,” said Jones. “It’s a terrible social and economic impact for thousands of people. I am here because it doesn’t need to be this way. It shouldn’t take this long to get a permit as as it does to build an entire house.”

According to the RDN’s manager of building and bylaw services, Tom Armet, permit applications take at least 10 weeks to process, similar to the timelines in other municipalities. The RDN has hired two more staff members, but training is required.

Armet said the region is doing what it can and is working on a business operation plan and improvements to the bylaw that will help streamline permit and inspection processing. He pointed out that due to each permit application being different, it is not easy to come up with definite timelines. The RDN website indicates the approximate current building permit wait time is 16 weeks and it can fluctuate based on the volume of applications received.

Jones believes that an efficient building permit and inspection process will improve the lives of thousands of people in significant ways.

“Right now there are tradespeople who are unemployed in one of the biggest building booms in history due to permit wait times,” said Jones. “And residents throughout the region struggle to find housing, many living in hotels, campgrounds, RV parks and sharing accommodations with friends and family.”

READ MORE: Regional District of Nanaimo sees building permit numbers fall in first quarter

The electoral area services committee did not make any motion to address the concerns raised by Jones. But Armet indicated with the two new staff members, the RDN hopes to speed up the process and work through the backlog of permits.

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