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

Cycslists were all smiles during ninth Tour de Victoria

More than 2,100 cyclists participated

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after Const. Beckett’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Police investigating incident in Saanich neighbourhood

Neighbours tell Black Press Media that a body has been found, but police remain tight-lipped.

Langford lizard sighting excites Victoria museum curator

Curator of vertebrate zoology/knowledge explains the spread of the Wall lizard in the region

Colwood man takes on Ride to Conquer Cancer for 11th year in a row

Team Finn has raised almost $3 million for BC Cancer Foundation

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Ferries employees participating in Denman Island cleanup for plastic-shedding ferry

The cleanup comes a few weeks after one organized by residents of the Island

Discussion on grief and loss between Stephen Colbert, Anderson Cooper goes viral

The exchange includes emotional question from Cooper, and outlook on grief as a child

Toronto activist calling on federal parties to nominate more black candidates

Fewer than 20 black Canadians have been nominated so far, including some Liberal MPs seeking re-election

Most Read