RDN receives funding to improve development application process

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The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) has been approved for $457,000 in funding to upgrade its development application processing technology through the Local Government Development Approvals Program. 

The technology upgrade is essential to developing a more robust and efficient application process, according to a release from the regional district. The RDN said it processes over 700 building permits, zoning amendments, development permits and subdivision applications annually.

“We understand the need for individuals and businesses alike to receive a timely response to their applications and inquiries,” said Tyler Brown, RDN chair. “The grant enables the RDN to conduct a strategic needs assessment to find the best technological solution to respond to the hundreds of applications received each year. The assessment phase of the project will ensure priorities identified by the public are addressed while also confirming technical and implementation requirements can be met.”

Development varies widely across urban and rural areas, from single-family homes and multi-story residential buildings to industrial sites and commercial developments. The number of complex development applications and inquiries is increasing, further highlighting the need for an improved application and review process, according to the RDN.

As part of the technical requirements, the RDN will look for a system that will allow the public to submit applications and review the status of their applications online at any time. The move to electronic records will also improve cost efficiencies, as the need to store high volumes of paper records will diminish over time.

The project will begin this November and is expected to be completed by early 2023, according to the RDN. The Local Government Development Approvals Program is funded by the provincial and federal governments under the Safe Restart Agreement. The purpose of the program is to support best practices and innovative approaches to development approvals processes, while meeting planning and policy objectives.

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