City of New Westminster introduces new measures to support industry during the COVID-19 pandemic through digital building permit application software, development of an interim development review process, and surveying of industry needs
May 14, 2020
New Westminster – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of New Westminster is introducing online building permit software and a new interim development review process that allows the public and staff to physically distance while meeting City service needs. The City has adopted Camino software, which allows clients to conveniently make preliminary building permit submissions online. The new interim development review process that has been developed will allow for development applications to safely proceed to the committee review and public consultation process. It also includes more City-led public consultation which could replace the need for some development applications to be referred to a public hearing. The City has also been surveying industry on their changing needs during the pandemic, with an eye to making further changes to building permit and development review processes.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about many changes to the way we operate at the City, making us think about how we can most effectively provide City services while keeping staff and the public safe,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Cote. “These new initiatives not only work to allow physical distancing in the short run, but also offer convenience and efficiency in our processes in the long run.”
Benefits of the new online guided application process include not having to physically come in to City Hall, 24/7 availability of City services, clear instruction and guidance, and the ability to provide submissions online.
For the interim development review process, the City is proceeding with a three month pilot program for the processing of development applications that address Council strategic priorities and/or are anticipated to generate relatively low interest at public consultation events and meetings, and which do not require an amendment to the Official Community Plan. At the close of three months, the City will explore expanding the interim process to other projects.
“We have sought to be responsive to industry needs during the pandemic,” said Emilie Adin, Director of Development Services, “making several changes quite rapidly once when the pandemic was declared. We have gradually put more services online and we have found interim and long-term solutions to meet industry needs. We understand that we depend on local businesses and projects to lead us through the economic recovery period that lies ahead.”
Visit our website for details on modifications to the City’s development review process and a link to online permits.
Emilie K. Adin
Director, Development Services
City of New Westminster