Council discusses issue of secondary suites

A secondary suite is a self-contained accessory dwelling unit located within a principle single detached dwelling or in an accessory building.  A secondary suite has its own separate cooking, sleeping and bathing facilities.  It has direct access to the outside without going through any part of the principle unit but does not include a duplex.

Director of Development Ken Rogers confesses that the City has a big hill to climb to get property owners, and the properties themselves in compliance with the existing laws. 

“This is a large endeavour I won’t kid you on that one. There’s a lot of work to be done out there. This is seen as a very reasonable approach in the fact that it shouldn’t overtax our resources and at the same time get the message across to the community out there through the owners and through the builders that we’re not looking at changing our by-law unless directed by council. This is administration’s review and attempt to enforce the by law in an effective manner.”

To get the required compliance the City is in the process of developing a guide on what is needed for a legal secondary suite.

Some of the things required for a secondary suite to be legal are: The City requiring the owner of the suite to hold a valid business licence, one off-street parking space must be provided on the parcel for the suite, and it must meet B.C. Building Code requirements for secondary suites.

Residents are welcome to report an illegal secondary suite by calling the Development Services Department at 250-794-3263 or by clicking here.

After the City is notified of a suspected illegal secondary suite a building inspector will conduct an inspection to confirm the presence of an illegal suite. If an illegal suite is found the owner will have the option to either upgrade the suite or decommission the suite. Suites located in zones that do not allow for secondary suites or suites located within duplexes will only have the option to decommission the suite.

If neither course of action is taken within a given time period a Bylaw Contravention Notice will be registered on title for that property. This will impede the future sale of the property and require that the owner address the issue of the non-compliant suite. Each Bylaw Contravention Notice will require a resolution from Council in order to have it registered on title.