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LETTER: Saanich should simplify process for coach houses


Too many illegal coach houses/garden suites/laneway houses? I’ll tell you why: try legalizing one. That’s what I’ve been up to for a couple of years now.

There’s all sorts of coach houses out there. Hundred and hundreds. Some, like mine, were purpose-built prior to Saanich’s decision to allow them. Nice places. Others are dirty firetraps. Anyone who’s looked into the process to legalize a garden suite knows the routine.

Get a development permit, then a building permit. And a parade of expensive experts: architect, building inspectors, siding engineer, sewage engineer, lawyer, other consultants. At enormous expense.

If an existing garden suite conforms to the zoning, re: setbacks, height, lot coverage etc, then a simple building safety inspection should be enough. Check framing, egress, smoke detectors, wiring, plumbing, and that’s it. Bada bing badda boom.

Saanich could quickly add hundreds of low-cost accommodations to the provincial targets, and save countless tenants the risk of being kicked out when the garden suite is “discovered”. If the municipality would just get the stick out of its butt.

Jerry Donaldson