“It was done without communication with community, and that’s why we’re here today, because as electoral director I did fall on my face not picking up on it and I think we all sort of shared that,” he concedes.
Hadland clarified that the process started in 2010, and only involved the four electoral directors, who didn’t realize the impact it would have. He also added that Area C already had a building bylaw, and that he’d never received a complaint about it.
The majority of concern expressed at the meeting revolved around the large cost and extra work involved in having the PRRD oversee every step of building.
“I don’t need Big Brother looking after me,” piped up one resident. “I’ve made my way through life and made my decisions – some bad, some good – but I’ve paid the consequences for my mistakes. I don’t need somebody charging me all kinds of money just so they can tell me how I can run my own business. I get nothing out of this.”
Some of the major sticking points included residents not being allowed to live in the basement of a house they’re building on, as well as a declaration on the building permit application that is too “all encompassing” in assigning liability to a home owner. Many of those who spoke believe the home owner and potential future buyer should accept responsibility, leaving the Regional District out.
“Purchasers are advised to get home inspections done before they actually complete; that’s part of their purchase contract,” explained one woman. “They pay a little bit, but they get it inspected if they so choose. If they so not choose, they don’t have to. Either way, the repercussions of that fall back on the original home owner, who built it the way he wanted in the first place.”
Others question the need for duplication when inspections already have to be done when securing a mortgage.
“When we built our house, we did have to mortgage it as probably 99 per cent of us in this room would have to do,” argued another resident. “By doing so, you’ve just incorporated the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. Once they come on board and you’re paying them to ensure the banks you aren’t going to default, they will send their own set of inspectors. So why the duplication?”
Walter Stewart, who has attended all of the meetings so far, says nearly all of those who have come out have signed a petition asking the PRRD to rescind the bylaw in its entirety. Both Hadland and Area B Director Karen Goodings said it is likely that at the end of the town hall process they will also be recommending that the Regional District rescind the bylaw.
Other topics discussed at the meeting included the Charlie Lake sewer upgrades, and the Site C Legacy agreement.