On Monday, June 29 Calgary City Council voted against a bylaw change that would have made it much less burdensome and onerous for homeowners to build safe, regulated secondary suites in the mostly inner-city wards of 7, 8, 9 and 11.
Council voted down the motion 9-6, despite strong community support, massive support from Calgary business and community leaders and even a recent citywide poll showing the majority of Calgarians continue to support increasing the supply of regulated suites. Not to mention that the local Councillors in these wards were all successfully elected on platforms calling for secondary suite reform during the previous municipal election.
First, Calgarians for Secondary Suites would like to thank Cllr. Druh Farrell (Ward 7), Cllr. Evan Woolley (Ward 8), Cllr. Gian-Carlo Carra (Ward 9), Cllr. Brian Pincott (Ward 11), Cllr. Diane Colley-Urquhart (Ward 13) and Mayor Naheed Nenshi for voting in favour of this compromise.
Second, we would like to thank the thousands of supporters who took the time to sign the Suite YYC Petition as well as the many thousands that contacted their city councillor to voice their support for more secondary suites in Calgary. Thank you as well to all the business and community leaders that voiced your support.
Council’s June 29 vote against secondary suite reform will:
Result in more illegal suites being built due to flawed City process
The current system for secondary suites is at fault for the estimated 16,000 illegal suites that exist in Calgary today. This number will continue to grow until an improved process for approving safe, legal suites is implemented.
Do nothing to address Calgary’s soaring rental rates
Between April 2014 and April 2015, Calgary’s rental rates increased 5.9% to an average of $1,319 per month, despite the slowing economy. The current system for secondary suites will continue to act as an impediment to addressing the rental housing shortfall. The resulting expensive rental market will further hinder our local economy.
Cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars
A December report found individual secondary suite applications have consumed more of Council’s meeting time than any other issue. Meanwhile, an increase in extended Council meetings have been costing taxpayers $10,000 per meeting in overtime pay for administration.
This Council is not doing its job
Even though the majority of Councillors agree that the current system for approving secondary suites is broken, only a minority of them are working to find a real solution. For this reason, the status quo will persist until a majority of Councillors commit to fixing the problem or after Calgarians choose a capable new Council in the 2017 municipal election.
The need for more secondary suites will not go away
More housing is needed now in order for Calgary’s economy to thrive and to compete with other cities for world-class talent. Secondary suites are a safe and practical solution for the housing crisis in Calgary. Calgarians for Secondary Suites will continue to work to increase the availability of legal secondary suites in Calgary. Sign our Suite YYC Petition to stay informed and stay tuned for updates.