Saanich is pushing ahead with a study that could lead to the legalization of garden suites

Saanich to study potential legalization of garden suites

Saanich is studying whether garden suites could help increase the supply of affordable housing.

“For my money, I’d like to see us move forward with this study,” said Coun. Dean Murdock. “For a lot of people in this room, it cannot happen soon enough and I think there is an awful lot that we will learn from it.”

While Murdock downplayed expectations, he said garden suites represent another form of legal affordable housing, which could greatly benefit Saanich.

While several councillors echoed this point, they disagreed about the regional scope of the study.

Council, after considerable debate, voted to focus the study on Saanich’s sewer service area rather than the urban containment boundary as proposed by the study’s terms of references.

The service sewer area covers an area that is about three per cent larger than the urban containment boundary.

Mayor Richard Atwell had proposed the extension. Murdock supported Atwell’s suggestion along with Coun. Susan Brice and Coun. Leif Wergeland. Coun. Colin Plant, Coun. Fred Haynes and Coun. Vicki Sanders opposed, albeit it for different reasons.

While Sanders supported the study, she warned against over-stepping the urban containment boundary. “It is a good compromise, but I feel so strong about the urban containment boundary, whether it is three per cent or three feet, I don’t support going anywhere beyond the urban containment boundary.”

Plant and Haynes meanwhile wanted to include all of Saanich including rural Saanich in the study.

Haynes, who had proposed the idea, said Saanich would be guilty of poor governance if it did not study of feasibility of garden suites in rural areas. “There is no harm in having a full set of information, and if we ignore rural Saanich, we are ignoring all of the information,” he said. “If not in the midst of a housing crisis, when?” he asked.

Plant agreed. “Our residents are asking us to look,” he said.

Atwell however stressed that expanding the scope of the study would also expand its costs. It would also see Saanich expand energy and effort in areas, where garden suites would not be likely in any case, he said.

“It has been a year to get to this point, and we need to focus on the area, where it is most likely to happen,” he said.

Funding for $45,000 study from Saanich’s strategic reserve fund.

With this study, Saanich is moving in the direction of other municipalities, who have already legalized garden suites. Coun. Leif Wergeland urged staff to look towards their experience to help speed up the process.

Council made this decision after hearing from housing advocates, residents and community association leaders, who urged to push ahead with measures to improve the supply of affordable housing in Saanich.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Emergency crews rescue pregnant woman from Mount Finlayson

Emergency crews from Langford and Metchosin responding

Oak Bay skaters bound for BC Games in Kamloops

Saanich resident aims for second gold

Victoria police pay special attention to domestic violence

Workshop for officers and others shows how domestic abuse trauma impacts for a long time

Panthers ready for the Storm in opening playoff series

Peninsula Junior B hockey club hands out its annual awards

Experts to capture and collar 20 female deer in Oak Bay starting this month

Does sedated, examined, collared and ear tagged in latest phase of deer management plan

Oak Bay skaters bound for BC Games in Kamloops

Saanich resident aims for second gold

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Lottery will help save children’s lives

Each ticket gets you a chance to win a lot of money, while helping a lot of kids

B.C. RCMP officer officially cleared in car wash shooting incident

A report found the Salmon Arm officer fired 14 bullets at the man’s truck

Wounded Warrior Run stops in Port McNeill

For Jacqueline Zweng, the Wounded Warrior Run is a personal matter.

Interest in Canadian Armed Forces remains high

Canada seeks about 5,000 recruits each year for its regular forces of about 68,000

Rules reviewed to keep drug money out of B.C. real estate

Investigator looking at loans as well as casinos, David Eby says

Tahsis mayor Jude Schooner succumbs to sudden heart attack

Flags are flying at half mast in the Village of Tahsis after… Continue reading

Victoria needs a neighbourhood ombudsperson to work on their behalf

City’s planning department not taking residents’ concerns into account: Rockland resident

Most Read