Broader view required on suites issue

Re: Secondary suites opponents rally (News, March 18)

Last week I received a brochure from the Friends of Oak Bay Neighbourhoods on a topic that is obviously causing them a great deal of angst. I am a resident of Oak Bay who lives in one of those single-family homes held in such high esteem by this group of well-meaning, but short-sighted citizens.

I love my home, but my children are adults and now there are just two people living in a home that once held five. I feel uncomfortable with this arrangement and would love to legally provide more affordable housing for people looking to enjoy the amenities my community offers.

Diversity is important to me. A healthy community needs people from all stages of life, as well as all levels of income. I am not a bit worried that by legalizing secondary suites, Oak Bay will somehow lose its unique character and a “slippery slope” will result in high-rises and student-housing slums.

My Oak Bay is not a gated community which only people of a certain income and lifestyle can enjoy. If, however, the proposal to legalize secondary suites does contradict our official community plan as this pamphlet suggests, then perhaps it is time we had another look at Oak Bay’s OCP.

Nothing stays the same in this world. The good old days were never as good as we remember them to be. We now know that we are living in a world facing huge environmental issues that will require us to re-imagine our relationships with nature and with each other, if we are to do more than survive. An ecosystems approach will be needed and unfortunately, single-family homes for two or three people have limited value from this perspective.

In the meantime, if we can create bylaws to keep chickens comfortable and happy in this municipality, surely it is within our ability to create bylaws that permit secondary suites and address the more reasonable concerns raised by the Friends of Oak Bay Neighbourhoods? It’s not rocket science.

Susan Draper

Oak Bay