Both local governments on Gabriola are upgrading their development approvals systems after receiving grants from the province.
Islands Trust received $367,795 for a development application service delivery and technology improvement program. The Trust will hire a consultant to review the application processing and identify ways to prioritize applications that improve equity and access to affordable housing. It will also use the funds to replace its in-house property information system with one that provides more reporting options on applications and includes an online portal for the public to make and track applications.
Clare Frater, director of Trust Area Services, said applications in the first three months of 2021 for requests like rezoning, development variance permits, temporary use permits and agricultural land reserve are up 84 per cent over the five-year average across the Islands Trust Area.
Through the same provincial funding source, the Regional District of Nanaimo received $457,000 to upgrade its development application processing technology. The RDN says the upgrade will look at improvements to the pre-application phase through to the issuance of the permit.
The undertaking includes reviewing the building permit process. The RDN handles building inspection for Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy), which will be part of the overall review, Paul Thompson, RDN acting general manager of strategic and community development, said. The RDN processes over 700 building permits, zoning amendments, development permits and subdivision applications annually. The new system will allow the public to submit and review the status of applications online.
The B.C. government granted funds to 43 local governments through the local government development approvals program for a total of nearly $15 million.
Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Gabriola Sounder