Subdivision rules get second look by councillors

Town council quickly gave the bylaw three readings during its March 3 meeting and sent it back a second time

A recommendation from the Municipal Inspector has led District of Clearwater council to reconsider its development cost charge bylaw.

However, the recommended change was only a minor one. Town council quickly gave the bylaw three readings during its March 3 meeting and sent it back a second time to the Municipal Inspector for approval.

Council originally gave three readings to the bylaw last October.

At the time, chief administrative officer Leslie Groulx said the bylaw was simplification of the five or six bylaws a developer would need to deal with in order to subdivide property.

The bylaws were inherited from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the former Clearwater Improvement District when Clearwater incorporated.

The new bylaw also should better insure that those subdividing property pay their fair share of any additional water, sewer, park and road infrastructure needed to service their subdivision.

Development cost charges would only be imposed for those portions of the municipality where the service is provided, or is expected to be provided in the near future.

For example, charges for sewer would only be levied in that portion of Clearwater that is serviced by town sewer (basically the Weyerhaeuser subdivision and nearby area), plus those areas, such as around Dutch Lake, that are anticipated to get sewer service during the next few years.

The charges would help cover the cost of connecting the sewer system plus pay a portion of planned improvements, such as standby power for sewage lift stations.

Development cost charges for a low density residential subdivision would total about $7,800 per dwelling unit if water, sewer, roads and parkland have to be paid for.

This is somewhat less than the average of $9,500 charged by a list of municipalities in B.C.

The “by” in bylaw is an old Norse word that means “town.” A bylaw is simply a town, or local, law.

Bylaws in B.C. require three readings by council, and then final adoption.

First reading is a test of whether or not council wishes to consider an issue at all. It is not usually an indication of whether or not council supports the bylaw.

Second reading is when council can debate the issue, make amendments, and vote again. This time, council is voting on whether or not they support the bylaw.

Third reading is the last chance for debate, amendments and voting.

In B.C., there must be at least one full day between third reading and final adoption.


Some bylaws require approval by electors (referendum) or alternative approval opportunity before final adoption. Others must be approved by the provincial cabinet, the minister, or by the Inspector of Municipalities.