Council Chambers were packed during the Jan. 20 meeting while council and residents discussed the issue of unrelated occupancy limits. (Teale Phelps Bondaroff/Twitter)

Public hearing will focus on number of unrelated occupants allowed in Saanich

Proposed change would see limit of ‘roommates’ moved from four to six

Saanich council will look to a public hearing to provide feedback on a bylaw change that would raise the limit on the number of unrelated residents legally allowed per household from four to six.

It’s been a contentious issue for the District since council requested a staff report on the concept over a year ago. Coun. Zac de Vries has been pushing for policy that would see the limit for unrelated residents eliminated, making it the same as for families. That motion failed in a 6-3 vote Monday night, but another option – to raise the limit from four to six – received unanimous support from council.

READ ALSO: Restrictions on unrelated occupants dominates Saanich council meeting

The next step is public input.

“I think the public hearing is a very important process,” de Vries said. “It’s a chance for everyone to speak and offer their feelings and ideas toward the change.”

In de Vries’ opinion, much of the discussion that’s come up around unrelated multi-person dwellings has stereotyped students or people living with roommates.

“Parking, noise, garbage, these are issues across Saanich,” he said. “They come from people who are both related and unrelated.”

He added: “Given the kind of broad generalizations in public discourse so far, I think that raises concern. There is nuance and complexities…students are not the only people who live together and are unrelated.”

At least two Gordon Head residents agree.

Jane and Patrick Brown received a petition stuffed in their front gate, asking them to help fight the bylaw change.

“This change will turn [Gordon Head] neighbourhoods into boarding houses for UVic students,” the note reads. “Saanich is a single family neighbourhood, we would like it to stay that way. [Four] unrelated persons per house is more than enough in a single family neighbourhood.”

READ ALSO: Evicted UVic student questions Saanich’s housing bylaw

But the pair were not persuaded. Patrick Brown said they support the bylaw change.

“We have been much younger people and grew up in different circumstances,” he said. “They do get to doing a little partying at times and are a little loud and ruckus, but there are ways and means of controlling that.

“The cost of rent is exorbitant and several people living in a residence makes it a little bit more affordable. We expressed our support with a letter to council.”

A date for the public hearing has not yet been set.



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

District of Saanich

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Branch of Royal Canadian Legion leaves North Saanich after 90 years

Branch will temporarily operate out of SHOAL Centre for Seniors

Police watchdog looking for witnesses to arrests in Victoria’s inner harbour

One male left injured after arrests near Red Fish Blue Fish

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

City frustrated as truck lodged under bridge one week after Victoria installs new signage

Dozens of trucks and buses have hit the E&N Rail bridge on Hereward Road

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Ryan nets hat trick in return as Senators beat Canucks 5-2

Ottawa winger received assistance for admitted alcohol problem

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Most Read