City council swamped with applications for secondary suites
Dozens of applications for secondary suites are before council, and each has to be debated individually, which is taking an enormous amount of time.
Because Calgary has a public hearing process in place, each applicant must apply to council, get the chance to speak, and anyone opposed or in favour also gets the chance to speak.
Council only got through about half of the 38 applications on the agenda on Monday and will be back at it on Tuesday. Council has discussed changing the process more than 40 times in the past but has never been able to agree on a solution, something applicants find frustrating.
“It's been hard for me to understand what's at the bottom of Calgary's problem with secondary suites unless it's about renters as a certain type of people, and yet most of us at some point in our life have been renters and will be again maybe, it's not a certain type of people,” said Dale Taylor, who spend the day at city hall waiting for a decision on her Huntington Hills secondary suite.
The mayor, who is a supporter of secondary suites, says the process should be streamlined.
“With the exception of Burnaby, B.C. every other city in Canada have come to terms with it and realized it's an administrative task, not one for council, and legalized secondary suites,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi.
But some councilors don't like the idea of "rubber stamping" secondary suites.
“Ultimately I was elected to do this job whether it was to approve 100 secondary suites for one family or one high rise, so if it takes 3 days, oh well, that's what we're getting paid to do,” said Andre Chabot, Ward 10 councilor.
There will likely be more than a dozen secondary suite cases to settle on Tuesday before council can move on to other topics.