Mr. Filan, Oak Bay Watch, and other like-minded individuals have often gone unchallenged on secondary suites in our community.
This must end.
Ignoring his laundry list of alarmist statements, I will focus on Mr. Filan’s claims about community support and the status quo.
He asserts that two surveys from 2016 show that a majority of residents oppose the legalization of secondary suites. The first was done in tandem with the Infill Strategy open houses. Mr. Filan knows these meetings were packed with vocal opponents of secondary suites. This narrow survey does not represent a broad selection of residents.
The Community Satisfaction Survey asked unprompted questions on important issues within Oak Bay. With 500 respondents, it shows an interesting snapshot, yet not everyone is so devoted to the topic to mention it offhand.
How can support be judged? The OCP survey conducted in late 2013 was sent to every household, with a response rate of 33 per cent. With 2,650 respondents, 78 per cent said they supported the regulation of secondary suites. This is a clear, direct, and specific response to this question.
Mr. Filan says the status quo “is not causing a problem for the vast majority of residents.” Disregarding the 78 per cent that supported regulation, it is.
It gives uncertainty to owners that require suites to afford their mortgage.
It delegitimizes residents living in suites, preventing them from participating in our community. A letter calling for the “prohibition of suites” to continue is just one example of this.
Suites are not just for income, they allow those that currently cannot afford to live here to be part of our community. Oak Bay is stronger and more vibrant by our diversity, not homogeneity.