First, let me clarify – I rent a suite in Saanich, and I am not a property owner.
There are two sides to the tale of the seven students who are being forced to find new accommodations as of Feb. 1. One side of this coin is that seven students are being forced to leave their house because of a seemingly draconian bylaw, and the flip side is that the house they rented was a house that is zoned residential, and not an apartment building.
The landlord should be held accountable for illegally renting the home out to the students. An enterprising lawyer could likely make the case that the landlord should have known the bylaws and legal responsibilities of renting the house, and therefore should be responsible for moving costs for the students affected.
The noise and traffic associated with a rental or rooming house is horrendous, and this is why the Municipality of Saanich has such bylaws to begin with. Seven roommates who have seven friends with seven cars, each who bring two friends to visit – now there are almost 30 people there. This is a house, not a community centre.
While it is too bad that this happened – my knee-jerk reaction was on the side of the students – this bylaw is in place for a reason and it makes perfect sense. Now I see things from the perspective of the owners and residents who have to contend with the noise, traffic and headaches associated with rental properties.
Anyone who asks what about this issue has not evaluated this issue from all sides prior to criticizing the Municipality of Saanich. There is a lot to criticize Saanich on, but this is not one of them.
Ward C. Griffis