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Friday 24 November 2017
Letters to the Editor

From bad to worse at Town and Country

THE EDITOR: With every policy change at the Town and Country Planning Division we just go from bad to worse. Town and Country has never really been easy, but at least it has always been somewhat fair; not anymore. A building application used to entail:

1) You pay a draftsman or architect to do your plans, ie, site plan, floor plans, elevations and sections, and you submit these and Town and Country reviews your plans.

2) If approved, the plans are forwarded to the relevant regional corporation for further review and you get your permission letter informing of such.

3) You pay your engineer to do the structural design drawings (usually in the $50,000-$60,000 range) and you also pay your licensed plumber to do your sewer design drawings (between $2,000-$3,000).

4) These drawings are then taken to Town and Country and it issues you your final approval to build.

Sounds good, sounds fair.

Now Town and Country has decided that your application has to include all the drawings — architectural, structural and plumbing. This concept may not sound so bad, but let’s say you have paid your architect/draftsman, you have paid your engineer and you have paid your plumber and Town and Country refuses your application. You now have to revise your design and pay your engineer and plumber again for the new designs.

Anyone who has dealt with this division of the Ministry of Planning and Development knows it can refuse you for the silliest things: your building is a few inches too close to the boundary, your area ratio is 0.2 per cent too much. You put in a separate kitchenette for your aged parents’ convenience and it tells you “two kitchens mean two families so you are a multi-family.” You put in a private bath for each bedroom and it says, “Is a hotel you’re doing here or what?”

Town and Country has no real reason to ask for anything more than architectural drawings. Its job is to check that your designs conform to its boundary offset requirements, its land coverage regulations, its drainage regulations and its floor (living) area ratio regulations.

It has operated an imperfect system all along with just architectural drawings until, presumably, some smarty-pants got the idea to make the system worse and punish people for daring to become homeowners.

Good luck to all who dare to go from the bottomless pit that is renting to giving your children the legacy that is home ownership. If there is a way to obstruct you or drag your hard-earned savings out of your pockets, Town and Country will find it.

S YOUNG, Cascade

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