Re: “Victoria makes it easier, cheaper to build garden suites,” April 15.
Kudos to Victoria council for its recent move to legalize garden suites, and I hope that Saanich council takes similar steps.
There is a tremendous need for affordable housing in our Saanich community, and we are in the fortunate position of living on a large lot in a walkable neighbourhood close to the University of Victoria, Gyro Park and the amenities of Cadboro Bay Village. We have an existing accessory building that was fully renovated by permit to code in 2015 with ample off-street parking, and yet we are unable to use this building for accommodation.
Meanwhile, our babysitter and three of her university student friends were forced through lack of options to pay $2,000 per month to rent a small, cold, damp and mouldy basement suite one block away. The black mould in this legal basement suite caused them so many respiratory problems that they had to take turns staying in the guest bedroom in our home, since we weren’t able to offer them our accessory building.
With no other rental options, they were forced to remain in this dangerous basement suite and were unable to enforce their tenants’ rights because the landlord had a waiting list of desperate renters. This situation is unacceptable, and we encourage Saanich council to move forward expeditiously by legalizing secondary suites in accessory buildings.
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