Building Department Backlogged

City sees unprecedented flood in permit applications, wait time 6-8 weeks

  • Oct. 11, 2017 12:00 p.m.

Fernie’s building department is buried with applications.

“They haven’t seen a boom like this one on single family dwellings,” said Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano, explaining that there hasn’t been this much rapid growth of single family residential units since the building of the Airport subdivision over three decades ago.

“They have so many applications that they can hardly keep up,” said the Mayor, and as a result they have added another staff member to help with processing permits.

From May to July this summer, the building department has approved the building of 16 brand new houses, and by July this year the department processed $16,495,780.00 which is over double the value processed by that time last year.

“The turnaround is between six to eight weeks,” said Giuliano. “What holds them up is that many times the applications themselves are incomplete.”

They have to be returned to the applicants in order to be completed, which takes a couple more weeks.

“They are working as quickly as possible,” said the mayor.

Issuing permits is just one step of the process, according to City Planner Patrick Sorfleet.

Building inspections are a necessary part of the process.

The number of inspections being undertaken have been steadily growing over the past four years as well, from 2015 to 2016, the rate grew by 10 per cent.

In 2016 the department undertook 563 inspections and as of Sept. 26, they have already done 492 inspections.

The mayor says that Montane developments, the Cedars, and Chuck Shoesmith are all developers that are building in the area, contributing to this increased rate.

“And there’s a lot of infill that’s been going on within the city,” said Giuliano. Many other residential building permits being issued are for additions on houses, as well as garages and carports.

Commercial building applications Sorfleet says fluxuate, just like institutional and industrial, all of which are low on an annual basis.

The city also inherited a number of RDEK building applications this year when phase one of West Fernie was amalgamated into the city.

Sorfleet says the city is expecting to take on more apllications when phase two is amalgamated as well.

When the city’s short term rental bylaw is passed, staff will also be undertaking building inspections for short term rentals seeking licenses, however, the planner says he does not expect it to be a significant burden.

The city has created a temporary Building Official in Training position as a stop-gap measure to accommodate the growth.

Sorfleet says that staff may be coming to council one day to request a full time additional building official.

He says that they have tried to completely overhaul the program, but have chosen to wait as it would take staff time to develop. So far, they’ve implemented some changes, but plan on revising the entire internal processing procedure at a later date.

Just Posted

Elkford reflects on town’s history

Canada 150 grant given to showcase young town’s past

B.C. to review 2017 flooding, wildfire seasons

Emergency Management B.C. needs better response, Premier John Horgan says

Couple launches Kombucha company

Fernie Alpine Springs – kombucha so pure, you might as well chop… Continue reading

Sparwood Planning wants offices downtown

Council hears concerns from business owners with offices in industrial area

Local artists support youth at Island Lake Lodge Gala

Art auction and gala event raises over $20,000 for Emily Brydon Youth Foundation

VIDEO: Best photos of the Supermoon 2017

At its closest, the Frost Moon was about 363,300 km away from the Earth

B.C. actress’s role in Wonder brings perspective to the topic of bullying

Crystal Lowe plays bully’s mother in the Hollywood movie

Site C decision coming Monday

Premier John Horgan to announce fate of dam project at B.C. legislature

VIDEO: Vancouver Whitecaps acquire star striker Kei Kamara

Kamara has 103 goals and 39 assists in 298 appearances over 11 Major League Soccer seasons

Smartphone pedometers underestimate steps, but valuable health tool: study

UBC researchers found the iPhone underestimated steps by 21.5 per cent

VIDEO: ‘Last Jedi’ premiere kicks off with droids, Daisy Ridley

Latests Star Wars film premiered in style ahead of Dec. 15 theatre debut

UPDATE: Poor ventilation likely cause of carbon monoxide incident at B.C. farm

All 42 patients have been released from hospital, according to Delta Fire

BC Lions part ways with three coaches

These are the first personnel moves made by new general manager Ed Hervey

Most Read