Council denies refunding of permit fee, development not complete

Council turns down request from building group to refund permit fee as development is not complete

The Town of Lake Cowichan has turned down a request from a building group to refund its permit fee after the group failed to complete development on time.

MJ Chahley Construction Group Ltd. has been working on Brookside Village at 300 Grosskleg Way, Lake Cowichan but council says only three quarters of the work has been completed in the time frame allowed.

The town’s bylaw states units must be finished within a two-year period.

“The permit expires if the work is not complete within two years,” said chief administrator Joe Fernandez at last week’s Finance and Administration meeting at the town hall. “Four units have been left incomplete. The building inspector estimated around 75% of the work has been completed.”

The town has now charged the company $1,119 which MJ Chahley had asked to be refunded.

Fernandez said that to waive the fee, council would have to make a change to the bylaw.

“If we didn’t have the bylaw, people would sit on the building permit and the work would never get completed.”

Mayor Ross Forrest agreed.

“If we waive this, we set a precedent. The time frame in the bylaw is in place for a reason,” said the mayor at the meeting.

Coun. Jayne Ingram also agreed and said the bylaw should not be changed to suit one group.

“There have been others over the years in the same place and we didn’t change the bylaw for them,” she said.

MJ Chahley had written a letter to council which said, “if there are expenses that have been incurred then we should pay for this infraction. We do not believe any cost has been incurred by anyone with respect to the timeline on the building permit. We are trying to keep our costs down to gather more customers and a better tax base for the Township.”

Coun. Frank Hornbrook made a motion to stick to the rules within the bylaw, which was passed unanimously at the meeting.