Town working with developers

Kim Tran was rejected by council in his bid to lower his upfront costs for a project he is developing on 3rd St. and Vancouver Ave.

Smithers businessman Kim Tran was rejected by council in his bid to lower his upfront costs for a project he is developing on 3rd St. and Vancouver Ave.

But the request spurred council to make it a priority to put together a policy to find more cost effective ways for developers to move forward with their projects.

Tran was in front of council during the regular June 11 meeting to ask for his landscaping and offsite development security deposits to be reduced from $327,643.56 to $100,000.

Tran said it makes a project even harder to bring to life if he needs to find financing for security deposits as well.

He said his track record of building quality developments, finished to the community’s standards, should speak for itself.

“Will you make it easier for the developer?” a visibly upset Tran said.

“That’s all I’m asking.”

In the end, council decided the town needs to protect taxpayers first and foremost and should not have to bear the risk of the off-site work not being completed.

A sentiment echoed around the council table was the need to be consistent.

It was decided to task staff with finding alternate ways to go through the process which are easier, financially, for developers in Smithers.

Director of development services Mark Allen said he can look into the legality of having the security deposits due, for the work not yet completed, before the building can be occupied as well as  other options.

“There’s definitely a willingness at this table to look at alternative ways of achieving the goal,” Mayor Taylor Bachrach said, adding council could have a special meeting with 24 hours’ notice once a solution is found.

“It’s not necessarily your development we build the rules for but for the developer that chooses not to fulfill his obligations.

“I don’t think anyone around this table has any doubt that you would fulfill your obligations.”