A developer from the Lower Mainland is speaking out, over what he claims was a challenging process to get a building permit approved in Kelowna. But his claims have been countered by the Kelowna director of planning and development.
Back in April 2022, Perdip Moore put in two building permit applications with the City of Kelowna, seeking to build a pair of fourplexes in Rutland, but the developer says he only received approval two weeks ago.
“I was quite disappointed, I thought that a city as small as Kelowna, and you see the homeless crisis there, that they would actually want to see homes being provided,” said senior project manager at PD Moore Homes Inc., Perdip Moore.
“On a simple duplex, their requirements are similar to…building on a highrise.”
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After waiting over a year, Moore says the rising cost of inflation forced him to suspend one of the projects entirely.
“It was just taking too long, and they don’t have that business sense to see that, well, inflation…will actually kill a project like this,” said Moore.
The developer out of Vancouver says once he finally received a permit to build a single four-plex, he requested a Zoom interview with the City of Kelowna, to discuss how he could help provide more rental projects in a city that’s facing a housing deficit f between 3,750 and 5,000 homes, but he says the city rejected his request.
“There’s not a lot of developers in the first place that are running to build rental homes in Kelowna, so when you have people that are willing to do that…there’s no reason to decline a meeting,” said Moore.
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“I think it’s a misstep on their part.”
Kelowna’s director of planning and development, however, says there was a reason for the delay.
“There were challenges with some of the consultants and their work that the builder was using, and so the permits had to be delayed until that work was done right,” said City of Kelowna director of planning and development, Ryan Smith.
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“We try and be facilitators of housing, but we also have a regulatory function, and we take that function seriously.”
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Smith adds that Kelowna has a reputation of being one of the best in the country when it comes to the city’s building department.
“They are the only accredited building department in Canada, and a model that others look at when looking at models of efficiency and good process, and they’re actually going through re-accreditation right now,” said Smith.
“They process thousands of building permit applications a year for housing units, and the general turn-around time for a single-family house at 2-3 weeks is the best in Canada.”
Moore says his goal is to simply provide Kelowna with more rental housing options without the use of government funding. He says he can’t understand why it took so long and adds that his experience may mean other developers will think twice about building in Kelowna.
“There’s plenty of communities out there that are willing to work with us, so really now, what’s happening in the building community, is we’re all talking to each other and saying ‘hey, which communities want to work with you, and why don’t we go over it and deal with them,’” said Moore.