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

Victoria-bound plane slides off icy Edmonton runway

Crew, passengers had to disembark via bridge stairs

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in Victoria as part of global Women’s March for equality

‘End Violence Against Women’ march theme for 2019

Victoria’s oldest pipes to be replaced this year

The pipes along Cook Street were installed in 1891 and are made of bricks

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

WATCH: Medieval fighters train in Colwood

Fighters are gearing up for world championships in medieval combat

Want to avoid the speculation tax on your vacant home? Rent it out, Horgan says

Premier John Horgan and Sheila Malcolmson say speculation and vacancy tax addresses homelessness

CONSUMER REPORT: What to buy each month in 2019 to save money

Resolve to buy all of the things you want and need, but pay less money for them

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

Most Read