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Builders call foul over sewer fee hikes

October 26, 2017

Residential developers and builders have been blindsided by steep increases in fees for sewer hookups, according to the Greater Vancouver Home Builders Association (GVHBA).
Rates sewer hookups for the Fraser Valley of the Lower Mainland will rise between 214 per cent and 230 per cent and increase by up to 111 per cent in Vancouver, depending on the housing type, the GVHBA said.
On top of that, the industry will see fee increases from various municipalities in the form of development cost levies and community amenity contributions, the GVHBA contends.
“The timing of this imposed stack of government charges on new homes couldn’t be worse,” said Bob de Wit, president and CEO of the GVHBA. “Combined with rising mortgage rates and a tightening of rules around mortgage eligibility, housing affordability will take a serious hit.”
de Wit noted the changes are coming in May 2018 with “no phase in.”
A guide from the Metro Vancouver Regional District outlined the proposed new fees for sewer hookups.
For a new detached house in Vancouver, the fee will increase from $944 to $1,811, and the cost-per-unit for a condominium apartment building goes from $590 per housing unit to $1,072. In the fast-growing Fraser Valley, the new detached house fee will be $5,428, with the per-unit cost of a townhouse development at $4,695, and condo apartment hookups at $3,530 per housing unit.
The planned fee increases focus on the principle that “growth pays for growth,” according to a Metro Vancouver statement. “The existing rates were established almost 20 years ago and significant changes to cost and growth conditions mean they are not sufficient to sustain funding requirements.” 

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