Letter: Concerns over city’s dimissal of DCCs

With reference to your recent front-page story, “City gets rid of development cost charges.”

Dear Editor,

With reference to your recent front-page story, “City gets rid of development cost charges.”

The prevailing argument used by Council to justify their decision for repealing both the Development Cost Charge Bylaw (DCC) and the Sewer Service Cost Recovery Charge Bylaw seems to be that “there is no development, so we don’t need development cost charges”.

To support this position, predictions were made by ‘City Hall’ that it would take hundreds of years for Red Mountain housing densities to materialize at the current rate of development and no upsizing of infrastructure is needed.

The hypocrisy of this can be seen downtown where large excavations on Columbia Avenue to install an 18-inch diameter sewer line to replace the existing 10-inch diameter are currently underway. This upsizing is to service 2000 housing units at Red Mountain.

So why is the sewer being upsized to take almost 4 times the flow if little development is expected? Without this upsizing, the existing pipes could have been rehabilitated in-situ at any time, using one of a variety of trenchless piping rehabilitation techniques available.

What you see downtown is the start of sewer upsizing projects to service a population of 10,000 at Red Mountain that might never materialize.

The real reason for repealing both the Development Cost Charge Bylaw (DCC) and the Sewer Service Cost Recovery Charge Bylaw is to reduce costs to developers in the hope of making development in Rossland more attractive.

It’s only to be expected that developers would speak in favour, since the proposed “Capacity Connection Charges, (which the Mayor appears to be in no hurry to implement), are significantly less than DCCs and the City has no plans to replace the Sewer Service Cost Recovery Charge which was implemented to collect funds to help pay for the upgrading and upsizing of the Regional sewage treatment plant and interceptor sewer.

The letter from the Deputy Inspector of Municipalities, does not give “his blessing on pressing a new path.” It simply gives permission to repeal the DCC bylaw and reminds the City that money currently held in DCC funds can only be expended on the approved DCC projects for which they were collected.

The proposed Capacity Connection Charges cannot possibly accumulate sufficient funds to pay for the upsizing of infrastructure for the amount of development still being projected for Red Mountain and Redstone, as estimated by reputable engineering consultants.

Without Development Cost Charges and the Sewer Cost Recovery Charge, guess who will be paying for future sewer upsizing projects, both Municipal and Regional?

It can only be assumed that a majority of Rossland taxpayers are quite willing to pay, given the apathy that has been shown to the whole Development Cost Charge issue over the past seven or eight years.

Ken Holmes

Rossland