LETTER: Community must be heard on secondary suites

There is much good information and discussion on the issues of owner occupancy, parking bylaws and impact on trees in Phases 1 and 2 of the present suite study.

READ ALSO: Survey shows Oak Bay divided over secondary suites

However, there are four important issues that I do not see explicitly mentioned which must be addressed before council and the community can have a meaningful evidence-based discussion on potentially legalizing family suites in Oak Bay.

A detailed business plan is essential. I estimate startup costs to be $100,000 and ongoing yearly costs of $150,000. Not insignificant amounts.

Are these costs to be borne by the municipality or user? Even with a 7.34 per cent increase in the municipal portion of our 2019 property taxes staff has stated our yearly contribution to our infrastructure renewal program is falling well behind (my estimate is more than $2 million). Given our precarious financial situation at this stage is the outlay of municipal taxes for suite legalization a priority?

READ ALSO: Oak Bay hikes property tax 7.34 per cent

Before legal suites are allowed, the community deserves to know how the present illegal suites are to be dealt with. Will they be ignored? Complaint driven and actively shut down? Will parking bylaws actually be enforced?

The state, size and present usage of our pipes – sewer and storm drains – are all major factor when adding new building densification. An engineering report on their capacity is essential when determining where housing types, including legal family suites, can be accommodated.

READ ALSO: Development charges won’t fix Oak Bay’s looming infrastructure costs, says mayor

The eight critical issues of a suite plan – owner occupancy, parking bylaws, impact on trees, business plan, user pay or municipality pay system, pipe capacities, enforcement, plus building code requirements – can be naturally addressed separately and independently.

READ ALSO: Quest is in line with Oak Bay vision, says developer

Phase 3 of the present suite study is called “Issues and Opportunities.” I suggest the format for this phase allow our engaged and knowledgeable community to give more valuable input on these separate issues. The result will be a “Made in Oak Bay Suite Plan.”

I believe this is by far the best way to ensure we end up with a suite plan which the community will support.

Mike Wilmut

Oak Bay

Just Posted

New survey finds 4.7 million women over 15 were victims of sexual assault in Canada

Some 1.2 million men (eight per cent) report having been sexually assaulted since age 15

Greater Victoria residents recognized for International Volunteer Day

Thousands of people volunteer throughout the community every year

In and out in 60 seconds, two suspects get away with $10,000 worth of jewelry after break-in at WestShore Gold and Silver

Langford business broken into just down the street from West Shore RCMP detachment

Victoria career fair highlights opportunities in film industry

Reel Careers in Film and Media fair set for Dec. 7 at Camosun’s Interurban campus

More than a million square feet of rental units proposed for downtown Victoria development

The Harris Green development is proposed to take over two large lots on Yates Street

VIDEO: Rockslide closes Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

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

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Trustees ask for more help after tearful meeting on B.C. school’s ‘toxic’ stench

Enforcement has ‘no teeth,’ school trustee says, while kids become sick

One of B.C’s last surviving strip clubs baring all again for Christmas charity

25th annual event is Sunday and raises money for the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society.

Threats to the Fraser River at ‘new zenith,’ says river conservationist

The ‘Heart of the Fraser’ should be deemed ecologically significant according to ORC statement

Grandparents raising children: Shuswap grandma sees need for support

Peer group formed for those who have unexpectedly taken on the role of parenting

Final appeal rejected for man convicted in deaths of missing Alberta seniors

Lyle and Marie McCann were in their 70s when they left their home in St. Albert in 2010 and vanished

Most Read