Not such a suite deal in the end

Re: Keeping Their Options Open (PNR editorial, Jan. 3).

I noted the writer of your editorial used the phrase “mortgage helper”, a tidy phrase which conjures up visions of pristine, so-called in-law suites occupied by smiling relatives or nicely-dressed collegiates. However, Peninsula councils and residents must be aware that the reality of the situation is often very different.

In more than a few Peninsula neighbourhoods, what began as mortgage helpers have become virtual dormitories with as many as 10 additional occupants in the house.

When, as most often happens on the Peninsula, each occupant requires his/her own vehicle, side streets become crowded with parked cars.

Soon after, parties get louder, the transience of the tenants means neighbours no longer are as aware of each other as they were and the character of any once-lovely subdivision is changed forever into that of an inner-city side street — the kind many of us moved to the Peninsula to leave behind. It is happening already.

Secondary suites are not a bad thing. I support them.

However, they absolutely must come with stringent, enforceable conditions attached to ensure that the character of our neighbourhoods be preserved. At a minimum, owner-occupancy, with just one extra suite per house and mandatory off-street parking provided by the homeowner would go a long way to preserving the character and accessibility of our neighbourhoods while serving to discourage opportunistic would-be landlords who see houses as revenue sources rather than homes.

Already there are Peninsula streets where a significant percentage of one-time single family homes have been converted to all-suite status, rendering them no more than low-rent apartment blocks, forever altering the character of their neighbourhoods.

Don’t let any future developments run the risk of turning our Peninsula into a cheap source of ready income for the wanna-be slumlords of the region.

K. M. Frye

Central Saanich


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