Village of Nakusp moving to avoid confusion over building bylaws

Village of Nakusp council gave village staff the go ahead to prepare a "do not enforce" amendment for its building bylaw.

The reason? The Regional District of Central Kootenay provides building inspection services to the village, so it uses its own building bylaw when enforcing regulations.

The amendment would provide clarity by making the regional district's bylaw the only one that applies for Nakusp buildings, explains a staff report by chief administrative officer Linda Tynan.

Why not just scrap the village's building bylaw? Because it still applies to construction projects approved before the village entered into an agreement with the RDCK, Tynan said.

"The request would be to have a ‘do not enforce’ clause in our bylaw so it still would be in effect for anything prior to the date that this goes on," she said. "But from the date that we sign it forward, it would be the regional district bylaw that would be in effect."

The RDCK has provided building inspection services for a number of years, but since 2010 it asked six municipalities – Kaslo, Slocan, New Denver, Nakusp and Salmo – to join into a regional district service along with the rural areas. Initially, each municipality was allowed to maintain it's own building bylaw, but that changed in 2012, when the RDCK asked that all municipalities be governed by its bylaw.

The changes mean that Nakusp council can't pass it's own building code regulations, such as green initiatives, Tynan wrote in a report to council.

"Much of the building code is open to interpretation — and participating in the service may limit the village’s ability to provide input into these situations," she wrote.

Despite these reservations, Tynan recommended the village move ahead with the "do not enforce" amendment.

"At this time, the provision of building inspection service by the RDCK seems to be working well for the Village of Nakusp and communication is ongoing in a positive manner," she wrote in her report. "Staff has expressed concerns with this model of delivery of building inspection; however, at this time, recommend that the Village remain a member of the service and monitor how the issues they have raised are managed over the next year."

She said council could always withdraw from the service in the future if it feels that it is too restrictive. That would involve contracting out the service to a qualified building inspector.


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