Affordable housing building permit? Sure. Just dot these Is and cross these Ts…


By David F. Rooney

The City is refusing to provide the Community Housing Society (RCHS) with a building permit for the 12-unit development planned for Bridge Creek Properties until it has dotted all the Is and crossed all the Ts.

In a memo to City Council Development Services Manager Dean Strachan said “the following items are required to be completed and submitted to the City in order for the subject Building Permit (BP2014-113) to be issued by the Chief Building Official:

  1. Homeowner Protection Office (HPO) approval.
  2. Architectural drawings showing footings/wall elevations and retaining walls designed for confirmed site grade.
  3. Revised Landscape Plan reflecting site plan modifications from the Building Permit application needed to update the Development Permit.
  4. Revised Engineered Design and submission of additional information meeting the above noted regulations and requirements as provided to the project Engineer and Coordinating Professional on August 29, 2014. Outstanding items related to submitted designs include:
  5. Vehicle parking located partially within the City’s road right of way must be on- site in order to comply with Zoning Bylaw;
  6. Relocation retaining wall proposed to be located on City’s road right of way;
  7. Lot grading details;
  8. On-site side-walk connection to City side-walk;
  9. Design of wheel chair ramps for four accessible units;
  10. Drawings reference a Geotechnical Engineer for Driveway and Access design, copy of Geotechnical Report to be submitted to City;
  11. Confirmation of off-site water main sizing and fire flow; and
  12. Completion of on-site and off-site infrastructure design drawings and estimates.”

The memo was written after RCHS Chairman Mark McKee sent them a letter saying that all these revisions could well increase the overall cost of the project.

“As you are aware, the Board of the Revelstoke Community Housing Society has decided to delay construction of the affordable housing project on Oscar Street until the spring of 2015,” he said in an October 8 letter to Mayor David Raven and City Council. “Our goal now is to start construction in early 2015, but we need time to get BC Housing approval and then re-tender the project in late fall.

“City staff has indicated to our design team that some revisions to the design of the project are required. Any revisions to the project design at this stage will have an impact on the costs of the project related to the work required to retain engineers and architects to undertake these revisions to the project design. These will be additional costs that may have to be absorbed by the Society. Revisions to the design may also impact the total construction costs of the project.

“We have asked our design team to provide us with an estimate of what will now be required to ensure we can get a get a building permit. The Society requires a building permit before we can get final approval of the project funding from BC Housing.

Based on the experience of the design team with City staff, the team is reluctant to provide a fixed cost estimate for the redesign work at this time.” The design team has indicated that they have previously revised design elements to satisfy the requirements of the city, only to be told when they submit revised designs that further revisions are required.         The design team is not confident that this will not happen again.”

The society has been told that it is to receive $1.4 million from BC Housing and the Columbia Basin Trust to support construction of this project. But an official confirmation/announcement will not be made until it receives a building permit. Could the project funding be withdrawn if BC Housing and the CBT believe the project is not going to proceed? That may be a possibility.

Do you think the community housing project is being stalled by the City? Click here to read the memo and the letter and then make up your own mind.