The Province has proposed a number of legislative changes that will help strengthen local governments’ ability to enforce bylaws and maintain housing, provide more financial transparency for BC Assessment and streamline administrative processes for local governments.
If passed, this legislation will amend the following provincial statutes:
Assessment Authority Act
BC Assessment is the only provincial Crown corporation that operates on a calendar-based fiscal year. This proposed amendment will bring BC Assessment’s fiscal year in line with the provincial government and all other Crown corporations, making its financial information and reporting more transparent and easier to understand.
Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter
A proposed amendment to both the Local Government Act and the Vancouver Charter will respond to the request by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) to repeal its authority to administer the commercial vehicle licensing program on behalf of participating municipalities. Originally, the revenue from administering this program was collected and used by local governments. The request from UBCM is based on its evaluation of the program that found it was no longer cost-effective and did not meet the needs of its participating local governments.
Vancouver Charter and Community Charter
An amendment to the Vancouver Charter and Community Charter strengthens the City of Vancouver’s bylaw enforcement tools to address poorly maintained buildings. In particular, this addresses concerns with low-income housing, such as single-room occupancy housing. The amendment requires property owners to complete necessary remedial repairs and work within 30 days — a reduction from the earlier 60 days. With this change, if a property owner fails to complete the remedial work within 30 days, or sooner in urgent cases, the city can step in and complete the work at the property owner’s expense.
The proposed amendment also raises the fine for serious bylaw contravention – which can be imposed daily – from $10,000 to $50,000 per offence, to help local governments provide a significant deterrent against serious bylaw infractions.
This proposed amendment helps streamline the land development process by giving the City of Vancouver the same authority to enter into latecomer agreements currently available to other local governments and land or property developers of multi-phase projects. The latecomer agreements help a local government to plan for growth in an area by building anticipated infrastructure such as roads, sewer, water and drainage that goes beyond needs for the initial approved plan by the first developer.
As an area grows and future developers submit plans to the city, it can collect a latecomer charge from the future developers to use the services and pay a portion to the initial developer for paying the up-front cost of building the infrastructure. Currently, due to the lack of this authority, Vancouver requires the initial developer to enter into an agreement to provide these services, which is a more cumbersome process.