Debate on secondary suites heats up at city council

Councilors spent more than 2 hours Monday deciding whether or not to turn down a secondary suite proposal.

In the end it was turned down but some councilors are frustrated with the process.

Ward 1 Councilor, Ward Sutherland, believes there needs to be a policy in place to deal with the applications rather than each case being decided individually.

“This talk is going to continually go in circles,” Sutherland said Monday. “Until we get a hard core task force and we start working on this, come up with options, with compromises… this conversation is turning in a circle.”

City council has seen a number of applications recently,  some believe it can be attributed to a lack of affordable housing.

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Steve Allen with Calgary Economic Development worries it could deter people from moving to Calgary.

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“It’s no secret that we have expensive housing” Allen says. “We have a housing shortage here… so I think it’s going to keep people from coming.”

Those opposed to secondary suites argue that there is more than enough properties in Calgary properly zoned to accommodate the additional rental space.

Bob Porteous lives in North Haven, residents in the community signed a petition against adding a suite in the community.

“There are over one hundred thousand properties in the city that are currently zoned for secondary suites that don’t have secondary suites in them” argues North. “So why load it on us, the R-1 owners?”

City staff are in the process of developing a secondary suite policy which is expected before council in December.