According to a Calgary Housing Company poll, 84 per cent of Calgarians supported the development of new secondary suites.
After falling short of his goal of legalized secondary suites across the city last year, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is making another attempt at pushing the issue forward.
In a year-end interview on CTV, Mayor Nenshi said that finding a more tenable resolution to the issue is still an important goal.
“It’s a moral and ethical issue. We are allowing some 30,000 to 50,000 to 60,000 – no one knows the real number – of our neighbours to live outside the protection of the law. So if you’re landlord if abusing you, if there’s no heat, if there’s mold, if the smoke detectors don’t work, if there are mice, you have nothing and no can help you. And to me that’s untenable,” said Mayor Nenshi. “We need to be able to move to a world where these suites are safe and regulated and an important part of the housing solution.”
Last March, a vote on the Mayor’s plan for a major relaxation of the rules governing secondary suites, one that would have essentially allowed the suites citywide, was defeated in council 7-6. At the time, two aldermen (Ald. John Mar and Ald. Shane Keating) sat the vote out due to the fact they pursuing rezoning for secondary suites in their own homes.
As it stands, secondary suites are only permitted in areas zoned RC2, and largely prohibited in areas zoned RC1, leaving much of the city off-limits for the suites. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 50,000 illegal and unregulated suites in houses across the city.