Vote delayed on motion to legalize secondary suites

The vote has been postponed until March 12 as not all council members were present for vote

A motion to move forward on legalizing secondary suites in Oak Bay was to be brought before council this week, but it has now been postponed until March 12 as not all council members were present for the vote.

Many residents who came to speak to Coun. Tara Ney’s resolution entitled, “Secondary Suite Implementation in Oak Bay,” still voiced their thoughts during the public participation period. Concerns ranged from the cost of enforcement, density issues, parking, liabilities for the municipality, and safety. A younger resident who currently lives in a secondary suite spoke in favour of them and shared his concerns about delaying the legalization of suites which included lack of affordable housing, lack of safety or stability for those living in illegal secondary suites, and the hit to community that happens when some people are excluded from being full participating members of society. One resident recommended that the issue be held over until the election in October so that the new council can address it as part of a larger housing strategy.

The motion proposed by Ney asks to have staff prepare a report outlining a work plan, that includes timelines and a public engagement plan, to develop and implement policy, regulations, and bylaws for secondary suites in Oak Bay.

“I know this project is important to our community, and as chair of the Oak Bay Engagement Task Force I anticipate that residents will be highly engaged with this process,” said Ney. “To ensure the secondary suite program is uniquely tailored to our community, we will consult extensively with residents (renters and homeowners) to learn of the issues and concerns.”

The Community Association of Oak Bay, along with Kaye Melliship of Greater Victoria Housing Society, is leading a conversation about affordable housing options in the community during a free March 3 event at the Windsor Pavilion. From 1:30 to 4 p.m. they will explore ideas for greater diversity of housing options in Oak Bay.

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