CSRD backs down on building inspection for Electoral Area D

Residents of Falkland, Silver Creek, Ranchero, Deep Creek largely opposed to service

Building inspection will not be coming to Silver Creek, Falkland, Ranchero or Deep Creek anytime soon.

At their Thursday, Aug. 15 board meeting, a majority of Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) directors voted against implementing building inspection services for Electoral Area D in 2020. B

Building regulation and inspection service already exist in Electoral Areas B, C, E and a portion of F. The CSRD’s plan was to continue rolling out the service across the region, with Electoral Area D being next in line.

However, the CSRD learned through a public engagement process that most Area D residents are opposed to building inspection at this time. Many objected to the related costs, the additional regulations and the lack of a referendum.

In addition to CSRD open houses and comment forms, citizens also organized their own petition drive. One petition, calling for a referendum on the service, and generated 361 signatures, while another expressing opposition to the bylaw had 330 signatures.

The concerns of Area D residents were voiced during a presentation at the Aug. 15 meeting by Falkland resident Kelli Rose. She presented both petitions and told the board a common theme in her conversations with fellow Electoral Area D residents is they feel they are not being listened to on the topic of building regulation.

She added locals would prefer the development of an Official Community Plan (OCP) to building inspection at this time.

Loud applause came from the gallery at the end of Rose’s speech.

Read more: Letter: Vote or referendum needed on CSRD Area D building inspection

Read more: Building inspection to roll out in March for South Shuswap

Read more: CSRD increases building inspections in the Shuswap

Read more: Column: Building inspection meetings planned for Area C

Electoral Area D Director Rene Talbot told the board he wanted to listen to his constituents and, in light of so much opposition, he could not support proceeding with the introduction of building inspection at this time.

“People in my area are not ready for this and I have to agree… Forcing them to have it is not the way to go,” said Talbot.

Salmon Arm municipal directors Kevin Flynn and Chad Eliason, as well as Revelstoke Mayor Gary Sulz, voted in favour of implementing building inspection, noting there are benefits to public safety and reduced enforcement and legal costs to CSRD taxpayers. Flynn noted the vast majority of local governments in B.C. already have building inspection and the CSRD is surrounded by both municipalities and neighbouring regional districts with building inspection already in place.

“Why? Because it’s good governance, ” said Flynn. “The negative feedback about building inspection is misplaced Building inspection doesn’t come into play for people unless they build a new home or make changes. From a board’s point of view, responsible governance says clearly based on what’s going on in the province, you should have building inspection.”

Based on the public feedback, including Rose’s presentation, Talbot suggested the board move ahead with plans for an OCP and revised zoning bylaws for the area. The board decided it would bring back the idea to a forthcoming meeting for further discussion, as this would have significant implications for the CSRD’s budget.


@SalmonArm
newsroom@saobserver.net

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