Saanich stymies attempts to rent suite


Kudos to Saanich council for finally moving forward with the proposed allowance of secondary suites in accessory buildings. I hope the planning department shares the same vision as council.

I moved to Saanich in September 2015 and my large Cadboro Bay property has two 1,000-square-foot accessory buildings which, though built legally, had been illegal rentals for many years. I renovated both buildings by permit to code, converting one to a garage and the other to a two-bedroom studio with kitchen and bathroom.

Over the past year, I have asked Saanich if I could use the studio:

• For a long-term student rental? No.

• For a short-term vacation rental or for visiting family and friends? No.

• To house a Syrian refugee family? No.

• As temporary housing for ourselves while we renovated the main house to avoid paint fumes and dust? No.

• As a creative space for multiple artists? No, because only the homeowner can create items in an accessory building if those items might be sold.

With much time, effort and expense, I have created a space that I would like to be able to legally share with others. I could create a similar space in my basement and it would be legal, though not nearly as nice or safe. I appreciate the need for more housing and am fortunate to live in a beautiful place with ample parking on my property. There is no reason for a building that was both constructed and renovated legally to be sitting vacant during an affordable-housing shortage.

Ramona Johnston



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