The City of Kamloops is looking to provide relief for builders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, the city’s development and sustainability committee directed staff to bring a report to council next month on temporarily deferring some building fees until further into the building process. The move does not waive fees, but pushes the timeline for payment down the road.
Committee chair Arjun Singh said financing is “tightening up” for different building projects, noting one way the city can help is to defer when development cost charges are paid to the city. Development cost charges are fees levied on developers to help pay for city projects related to growth. The fees are now collected at the building permit stage.
“Right now, what happens is, if they’re [builders] paying at the beginning, when they’re first going into development services, the money is coming out of their own pocket because they haven’t gotten their financing figured out yet or financing hasn’t kicked in yet,” Singh said. “If we defer it to later on, the financing can pay for some of that. It just basically frees up their own money for the development itself.”
Singh noted the city is not looking to waive fees, but temporarily defer when some of them are paid. The committee specifically directed staff to bring a report back to council outlining a temporary bylaw change that would allow 50 per cent of DCCs to be paid later in the process, at a yet-to-be-determined time, until Oct. 31.
The report will go to council in July, with a recommendation not likely to be ratified until August, due to council’s summer schedule and bylaw change requirements.
Working from home?
The development and sustainability committee also heard a pandemic-related request that massage therapists and other professionals, like physiotherapists, be able to work from home. The committee heard the city has typically encouraged such professional services to utilize commercial space, for reasons that include keeping the downtown area healthy, but the issue is expected to be discussed when the city looks at its zoning bylaw later this summer.