Part 3 – How Islands Trust Ignored Trust Policies

Yesterday, in Part 1 & Part 2, I reported, by using Islands Trust data, apparently just how inefficient the planning department is when it comes to application processing.

Now, to add to the glaring inefficiencies, is what, in my opinion, borders on negligence by senior Trust management for over 15 years. 

When I first brought forward my concerns in December 2004 (coincidentally at the first Trust Council Meeting in Victoria where the new Chief Administrative Officer, Linda Adams, was appointed), there was in existence Islands Trust Policies (still in existence today), which clearly set out direction for Islands Trust Staff to follow when considering a land use application (rezoning, development permit, subdivision, etc.). The following is a link to the relevant sections of the Trust Policy Statement, which I will be referring to:

Application Fees Processing

 “Application Processing Services” is the title, and you will note that it was first introduced in 1993, and has not been changed since (coincidentally) 2004.

The Policies make it clear that:

(a) Some services are provided free (Section 1.1)

(b) There are 11 services which are included in the application fee (Section 1.2.i)

(c) The 11 services are funded primarily through fees as per a local trust committee’s Fees Bylaw. (Section 1.2.ii)

(d) The fees will be based on average processing costs as per Section 931 [2] of the Local Government Act (Section 1.2.ii)

(e) The costs of processing an application are calculated as the product of staff labour costs X processing time.(Section 1.2.ii)

(f) Service activities beyond the scope of a general processing service and the required fees require that additional fees be paid on the basis of a cost recovery agreement between the Islands Trust and an applicant (Section 1.3.i)

Now, here’s where it begins to get interesting.

The Trust wasn’t going to leave it up to planners to wonder when, and/or if, a “cost recovery agreement” was necessary with respect to a particular application.

Staff were instructed by the Fees Bylaws (of each Local Trust Area). The following is from the Salt Spring Island Fees Bylaw 468:

4. Extraordinary Costs

4.1 In the event the costs of processing, inspection, advertising and administration in respect of an application are estimated by the Islands Trust to exceed 150% (percent) of the applicable fee, the Applicant shall pay to the Islands Trust prior to the processing of the application the estimated actual costs of processing, site inspection, advertising and administration.

“150% prior to the processing of the application.” 

Now, lets take a look at “how” a planner would estimate whether extraordinary costs would be applicable to any particular application.

The Trust wasn’t going to leave too much to the imagination of Staff, so 15 “Work Orders” were created.

Below is an example of one of those work orders – for a “Zoning Bylaw Amendment” application.

You’ll note there are 3 columns.

The total number of hours is 60 hours for “Regular” and 70 hours for “Complex” applications, with the 3rd column left open for filling in estimated “Cost Recovery” hours.

So, here are the $2,000,000 questions –

Do Staff ever use these work orders, and if so, how did they underestimate by $2,000,000+ the cost of processing applications last year (and the years before)?

If they haven’t been using the work orders, why has Trust management not enforced their usage, since it is clear numerous applications must have grossly exceeded the 150% threshold?

This is just one more reason to have the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing and/or the Inspector of Municipalities conduct a complete core review of the Trust. This nonsense has continued since I brought it to light in 2004. Why has nothing changed, in spite of previous, independent reviews such as the 2007 Stantec Report?

Sorry….I mean why have things gotten far worse, not better?  

Appendix 5 Jpg









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