City mulls increase in fees, transit fares
The price to build in the Tournament Capital could be rising, along with the cost of the public mode of transportation to get to new developments.
The city is mulling the idea of raising transit fares and building-permit application fees.
In a report to city council, the development and engineering department is proposing increasing bus fares by about 10 per cent.
The increase would mean an adult cash fare would jump to $2.25 from $2, while senior and student fares would rise to $1.75 from $1.50.
Monthly passes would also see similar increases, with an adult pass set to cost $53, up from $48. It would be the first increase in transit fares in five years.
The fare increase would generate an estimated $232,219 in extra revenue, but could result in a four per cent decline in ridership, which concerns some on council.
Coun. Denis Walsh said a fare raise will not grow ridership, noting a two-way trip would double the increase.
“It’s going to cause more problems than it’s going to fix,” he said.
But city staff countered the cost to operate the transit service has risen dramatically and the cost needs to be absorbed by taxpayers generally or transit users specifically.
If approved, the new bus rate would be comparable to that charged by cities like Prince George and Nanaimo, which have set the adult transit fare at $2.25.
To offset the effect of a fee increase on ridership, the city could lengthen transfer times to 90 minutes or adopt a family-travel program, in which a monthly pass holder can take up to four children on a bus at no cost for the children.
A second report to council proposes an increase on a host of building-permit fee applications.
The proposal suggests the rezoning fee rise to $1,500 from $1,000; an Official Community Plan application jump to $1,500 from $600; a development-variance permit increase to $800 from $650; and a development permit for projects worth more than $250,000 climb to $1,000 from $550.
The overall fee increase could net the city an extra $150,000 annually based on $175-million worth of construction value.
David Trawin, director of development and engineering services, said the increase would help the city’s building department recover more of its costs.
He said he’s not worried the new price would scare developers from building in Kamloops, but conceded many in the local construction industry won’t like the idea.
“Ultimately, it hasn’t increased in a long time,” Trawin said, noting proposed increased fees would still be less than what other communities in the region charge.
“I think it’s a fair price for the service we need to provide to not only them [developers], but also to the citizens to make sure buildings are constructed safely.”
Even with a rezoning increase to $1,000, it will still be cheaper in Kamloops than most cities of similar size.
The City of Kelowna charges $1,785 for a rezoning application, while Chilliwack, Nanaimo, Vernon, and Prince George all charge $1,400, $1,500, $1,400 and $1,500, respectively.
A final report on both proposals, on which city council will vote, will be presented to council in the coming weeks.