The housing market is the ubiquitous topic of conversation in Vancouver.
Everyone has an opinion about it. It’s an obsession that is rivaled only by our compulsion to talk about the weather.
Keith Roy, a Vancouver realtor, is one of them. After years of buying and selling homes for his clients, he is building a house for himself under the new 2015 City of Vancouver building bylaw.
He is detailing his home building adventure on his blog “Building in Vancouver,” found at buildinginvancouver.com. His hope is to share his experience step by step to give people an idea of the cost and red tape associated with building a house in Vancouver.
“I want to highlight how decisions made in the council chambers affect end users, because sometimes I think good intentions have very expensive consequences”, says Roy.
For people who have a phobia of government bureaucracy, this excruciatingly detailed blog will surely give them nightmares.
Something as simple as removing a dead tree stump and a diseased, almost-dead tree from his property has turned into a costly and time-consuming process for Roy.
The Protection of Trees ByLaw is a staggering 46 pages long. It is a verbose document which Roy amusingly points out must have resulted in the death of several trees just to print.
The protection of trees in our city is important, and we all love the beautiful oak and cherry blossom trees that adorn our city streets and help maintain a healthy ecosystem. There should absolutely be laws to protect them.
However, as Roy points out, his trees are, in fact, a stump and a dying fruit tree that hasn’t produced a piece of fruit in a decade.
Nevertheless, Roy has to go through the same permit process as someone looking to remove a healthy, old growth tree. This doesn’t make a lot of sense. As Roy points out, why is the City of Vancouver applying the same level of protection to a tree stump as it does to a healthy, beautiful mature tree?
To get his permit, Roy has to pay application fees, obtain arborist reports, produce a tree plan, possibly get a report from a plumber and fill out a permit application.
Roy estimates it will cost him about $561 to $650 just to get the green light from the city to remove the stump and the dying tree from his property.
This is a shining example of government making things unnecessarily hard and expensive for people.
When getting permission to remove a tree stump costs the same and requires the same permit process as getting permission to remove a 100-year-old Arbutus tree, something isn’t right.