Home builders push back at Kelowna attempt to review construction hours

Builders balk at change

The Central Okanagan chapter of the Canadian Home Builders' Association is pushing back at suggestions the City of Kelowna review hours that construction is allowed to take place.

At the end of Monday's council meeting Coun. Rick Webber put forth the notice of motion after receiving a complaint about noise from nearby construction.

Bylaws allow construction to occur in the city from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. 365 days a year.

"With the amount of construction happening in all of our neighbourhoods, some happening quite close to existing homes I thought now might be a good time to review construction times and their impact," said Webber.

The CHBA Central Okanagan says they are concerned any revisions to the present bylaw will make housing even more unaffordable during a time when the country faces a housing crisis, and could be a threat to worker safety on hot Okanagan day.

In a two-page response, executive director Daniel Winer and president Krista Paine outlined three areas for council to consider before adopting any changes to current construction hours.

Worker Safety - The association says current construction times allow a significant amount of the work day to take place outside times when temperatures can climb to above 30 C. "By pushing back the start time for construction, council is increasing risks for workers who will have to complete these projects during peak heat."

Adding Costs - The association says by reducing construction hours, projects will take longer to complete, adding to the cost while slowing the rate at which housing will be built.

Municipal Funding at Risk - The association contends any change to construction hours and, by extension, increased delays, could have an adverse effect on the $31.5 million Housing Accelerator Fund. "The majority of that funding is based on performance...the city does not receive federal funding unless new housing gets built."

"As Coun. Webber stated during the short-term rental hearing, we need to ask ourselves who benefits the most from revising this bylaw.

"If we are adding costs and delaying housing completions for the thousands of homes that are needed, the answer is clear.

"If mayor and council agree we are in a housing crisis, we need to treat it as such."

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