The Village of Nakusp is going to receive help from the provincial government to make its application process for building new homes and other construction projects faster and simpler.
The Village has received a $59,000 grant to support its zoning bylaw and development process review, which is now underway. The money from the Province will allow the Village to make its development process a lot clearer.
“Hopefully the public is going to understand the process more easily,” says Linda Tynan, Nakusp’s acting chief administrative officer. “There will be more information on what is involved; there will be things like checklists… so it’s going to be smoother. So hopefully we’ll see improved clarity, speed and effectiveness when somebody wants to rezone, subdivide or whatever development they want to do.”
“Development applications are at a very high level right now and the processes have not changed much over the years.”
The Village was one of 43 local governments sharing $15 million to “help people get the homes they need built faster and support economic recovery,” the Province said in a press release. The Province wants to see municipalities implement best practices and develop innovative ways to support non-profit housing organizations, developers and other stakeholders.
For Nakusp, that means, among other things, revamping bylaws, and developing materials for would-be builders to understand the bureaucratic process. It will also see changes to zoning regulations to eliminate the need for hearings for simple variances, like building setbacks, Tynan told the Valley Voice.
“If you talk to people in the community, they’ll say they put an application in and sometimes it appears to get stuck or delayed. I think this is just good timing for this village.”
The Village has already contracted out the project to a consulting company called Urban Systems. They started the zoning bylaw review earlier this summer. Forest fire season put any public consultation on hiatus, but that should begin over the coming weeks, says Tynan.
“Public engagement is a big part of it, because we are incorporating the zoning bylaw into the project,” she says, noting details of the public engagement can be found on the Village website.
The project has to be completed by summer 2023, though most of the work should be done in the next six months, Tynan estimates.
The Province says its ultimate goal is to build essential housing for people around the province as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
"Local governments play a critical role in making sure the housing people need in their communities is built quickly and meets local needs,” said Josie Osborne, Minister of Municipal Affairs. "…Together, the Province, local governments, housing providers and builders can find solutions that support more affordable housing for everyone in BC."
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice