The city knows the time to get permits approved is causing some angst among developers, but staffing issues make dealing with the problem a challenge, Mayor Henry Braun said Wednesday morning at his annual Mayor’s Breakfast speech at Tradex.
Abbotsford has seen the number of new homes in the pipeline more than triple over the last four years, and wait times to get projects approved have also increased.
“We are not happy with some of the wait times,” Braun told the audience of businesspeople, politicians and community leaders.
But although increasing staffing is possible – albeit a challenge in a tight job market – the city has to be aware of the costs that will follow when house-building inevitably decreases, Braun said.
“It’s difficult to ramp down if we have to,” he said. The city is working on ways to speed things up, though, Braun said, noting he and council are aware of the issue.
The discussion about wait times came during a question-and-answer period that followed an upbeat speech focused on the city’s quest to be a forward-looking “intelligent community.”
Braun spoke about the city being named as a top-seven “smart city,” and trumpeted the need for continued innovation and collaboration between community groups.
“We know that change is going to take place,” he said. “We can either plan for that change … or simply react and see what happens.”
With local MLAs and MPs in the audience, Braun also repeated his call for Highway 1 to be widened, saying that four lanes in both directions – including one HOV lane and one for trucks – are needed.
Watch the full speech online