I am disturbed by the apparent lack of progress we are making on various developments in the Town of Revelstoke.
One is the delay of the single family development approval for the Big Eddy School site. It appears to be a simple subdivision that was delayed because there was a lack of water in the Big Eddy. The residents approved a large expenditure to solve the water problem and yet the delay continues. Was lack of water actually the problem or was it a classic Town delay tactic? Is it because the School District is way too polite and the Town is taking advantage of that? Either way, the subdivision could bring significant economic activity and tax revenue to the Town.
Rumour has it that approval of Mackenzie Village Phase 2 is also delayed. Given that the Master Plan was approved and Phase 1 was just completed, I would have thought Phase 2 would have been approved right away so they could utilize the same labour force. Was the developer not provided with the right information going into it or is there a lack of leadership from Council in dealing with it?
Monashee Court is the newest residential development on the ski hill. Housing lots have been sold and eager homeowners are ready to begin construction but the rumour is there is a dispute between the Developer and the Town over construction deficiencies. Normal developments such as this require a performance bond and if deficiencies are found and the developer doesn’t rectify them within a reasonable period of time then the Town would call the performance bond and use the funds to remedy the deficiencies. Why hasn’t this been done? Speculation is the Town doesn’t want to take any harsh action against the developer. Again, many eager lot owners are ready to create economic activity and add to the tax base. Why hasn’t Council taken a leadership role and resolved this issue either?
How many more of these issues are out there that the public are not aware of?
The Town could avoid any potential tax increases this year if these projects were approved.
These development issues are an indicator of a larger problem. I have to apologize because I have always believed our development problems to be a staff issue but we are on our 3rd planner in recent memory and the problems persist. Planning and Development staff are the canary in the coal mine. The canaries keeps dying so we keep replacing them. The problem is not the canaries but the mine.
Happy, productive staff are an indication of a healthy mine. If they receive appropriate compensation, necessary training, proper direction, constructive guidance from their superiors and are guided by a well thought out set of rules and guidelines then they will stay and projects will get approved in a timely manner.
In our case, Council is not providing the staff with the leadership and direction they need when advising developers and evaluating the applications. Council is at the top of the accountability heap. If there are issues, they should be proactively dealing with them early in the process and not allowing them to get bogged down.
Our growth potential is the envy of many communities of our size. Maybe our Director of Economic Development should spend more time lobbying our own Town Council.
We have considerable potential knocking on our door. We just need Council to let them in and not trip them up on their way by. Granted we are not the only municipality with development issues but we are a small town of 7500 with big potential. Let’s act like one. Cut the bureaucratic nonsense of a big City and get on with our future.
In my opinion.
Your Arm Chair Mayor,