Colwood cracks down on illegal secondary suites

Safety concerns cited as reason behind Colwood campaign to regulate suites

Colwood is cracking down on illegal secondary suites, beginning with homes housing multiple suites.

A home on Benzanton Way recently learned the hard way that illegal secondary suites will not be tolerated. Following up on a complaint, bylaw officers inspected the home, currently under construction, and found a suite being built over and above the one legal secondary suite permitted in the bylaw.

Bylaw officers ordered the removal of the suite, which the homeowner completed at their own expense.

No fines were issued.

“The cost to remove everything was more significant than the fines,” bylaw enforcement manager Kevin Atkinson said. “We use our discretion on that.”

Atkinson said the case is a good example of the system working. Colwood bylaw is currently pursuing homes with multiple suites and cracking down on the illegal ones. The process is still largely complaint driven but Atkinson said they are starting to go after homes they know have illegal suites, whether there is a complaint or not.

Eventually, Atkinson said, bylaw enforcement officers will turn their attention to all suites without permits or not up to code regardless of whether there has been a complaint.

“Eventually we will get to them. Eventually it will be not complaint driven, when we discover them we will follow through,” Atkinson said. “If you haven’t registered your suite and we come and knock on your door, it’s going to cost you money to bring your suite up to code or you’re going to have to deactivate your suite, one or the other.”

Safety is the primary reason for the crackdown, as suites without permits are often not up to building codes. Also, during emergency situations such as a fire, emergency personnel need to know who is in the house and how many residences a home has.

A recent gas leak, for instance, caused an evacuation, said Atkinson. Emergency crews thought everyone was out of the area only to find out some time later that there were  still people in a secondary suite unknown to crews.

 

“This is why we need to know where all these suites are. It is clearly a health and safety issue,” Atkinson said. “And we want to know our residents are safe.”

 

 

Just Posted

UPDATE: Serious crash sends two to hospital, closes Cook Street in both directions

Police have taped off intersection as investigation continues

The ride of a lifetime

RCMP officer Rusty Olsen shares experience with Musical Ride

V2V ferry service to add daily trips from Vancouver to Victoria for fall

New routes will move home base to the mainland, allow guests more time in Victoria

Join the resistance for an outdoor movie screening in Colwood

Movies on the Hill returns to West Shore Parks and Recreation

Storm the fort in epic battle

Fort Rodd Hill’s annual water gun battle returns Aug. 18

A look at B.C. wildfire smoke from space

NASA provides a timelapse of smoke covering B.C. from space

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read