With a split council and split community, overworked staff and limited time (realistically about three months) it is clear that little of significance can be achieved on the issue of legalizing and registering secondary suites in Oak Bay.
One way to move the process forward is to create an inventory of all secondary suites by adding one or more questions to the property tax notice which is signed by property owners. The idea is not new. For example, all property owners in the Village of Lions Bay must certify whether their property contains a secondary suite, whether it is occupied and if so whether it is occupied by immediate family members.
This accurate inventory can be cheaply and efficiently created with little staff time. Within months, police, emergency services and fire department safety concerns about whether a property has a suite and whether it is occupied would be addressed.
Finally, the information collected would allow the 2019 council to immediately have accurate data vital to an evidence-based process on secondary suites legalization.
This suggestion is offered as a contribution to, hopefully, a compromise secondary suite council motion.