Re: Secondary suite applications are trickling in for Saanich (News, June 3)
My first reaction was “huh?” A whole year after legalization, only 18 of 9,000 suites have been licensed. How could you have possibly put a positive spin on those figures? You did and with those odds you should have no trouble getting your bets placed.
The reality is when suites are legalized very few existing illegal suites get regulated and taxed. However, what the municipality does get is a significant increase in illegal suites.
So approximately 15,000 (or more) Saanich residents don’t provide property tax revenue although they use infrastructure and require municipal services.
You can’t blame the suite renter, they certainly provide substantial rental income to illegal suite owners, who pocket the money. All the other property taxpayers subsidize the shortfall. This is the case in municipality after municipality in B.C.
The provincial and federal governments push illegal basement suites as “affordable” housing because this gets them off the hook for providing incentives to build rental and social housing and control rents.
All this, after they already collect by far the lion’s share of all tax, tariff and resource royalties and have convinced municipalities to buy into a equal three-way formula to fund projects and services.
Municipalities collect very little revenue in comparison to fund their third, but this seems to have escaped everyone’s attention.
Packing everyone in to single-family unlicensed, unregulated dwellings hardly seems a solution.