Leaving it on the table

By Craig Westcott/March 3, 2023

Taxpayers in CBS are reaping a surprise windfall from developers who have either failed to perform the required landscaping on their housing developments, or outright forgot to collect their deposit fees after finishing the job.

All told, the Town is keeping some $169,750 in unclaimed landscaping deposits.

Councillor-at-large Rex Hillier, who chairs the planning and development committee, explained at council last week that when a developer or resident takes out a permit to build a home, they have to leave a deposit of $500 with the Town. The permit requires them to complete the landscaping and driveway on their property within two years. If they meet that deadline, they can come back to the Town and request an inspection after which they will be refunded the $500.

“If within those two years they have not reached out to us to have an inspection on that property than we have the right to take into revenue those deposits,” Hillier said. 

He noted the most recent deposits included in the funds taken into the Town’s general revenues last week were paid about two and a half years ago. There are some unclaimed deposits going as far back as six and seven years.

“In many cases, the work may have been done,” Hillier allowed. “But the developer, or the resident – who ever built the home – has not reached out to us to have an inspection.”

Mayor Darrin Bent commented that it’s a lot of money. “That’s a few hundred deposits,” he reckoned. “Three hundred and twenty-eight deposits where nobody came back looking for their money.”

Hillier said one developer left 26 unclaimed deposits.

“Okay,” said Bent. “I hope they’re doing well.”

With that he called the vote on whether the Town would keep the money. It passed unanimously with Deputy Mayor Andrea Goose absent from it after declaring a conflict of interest as she has a business relationship with a developer on the list of deposit owners.

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