In 2019, Mayor George V. Harvie established a Task Force with members of the development/building community and senior management to provide advice to Delta's City Council on actions and measures that could be implemented to streamline development and building permits, reduce applicant wait times, and improve communications with applicants.
The Task Force considered many issues within its mandate and provided advice which resulted in Council and staff being able to implement real process improvements including: reducing red tape on constructing secondary suites, moving application processes online, zoning changes for residential development, requirements for protecting and replacing trees, improving resources and checklists for applicants, etc. This work began prior to COVID and economic challenges for the industry including supply chain issues, rising land costs and interest rates. This project fostered important communication channels and a collaborative format to keep business moving (such as being better prepared to accept applications digitally in March 2020).
This project can be replicated or adapted for use in other communities. The lessons learned from this project are: that the City and the development/building community can work together to solve challenges for the industry; and the importance of establishing communication channels between the industry, senior staff and City Council. The Task Force also served as a sounding board for staff on proposed policies and bylaw changes with respect to the impact on development/building industries. Local governments are not able to solve all of the issues facing the industry; however, there is opportunity for improvements within our role as well as a partnership to combat problems at higher levels of government or arising from the market/economic environment.