Secondary suites within single detached homes are now legal in Ladysmith.
The bylaw passed third reading and was adopted at council’s Sept. 19 meeting, following a public hearing on the subject.
Mayor Rob Hutchins said the bylaw will help make living in Ladysmith more affordable, both for renters and homeowners needing a mortgage helper.
“It’s been on our agenda since 2003,” he said. “So it’s a good-news story for us.”
Councillor Jillian Dashwood said it will also benefit contractors constructing new homes.
“I’m really excited, it is closure on the one conversation, and hopefully the next conversation is not too far in the distance,” she said.
Anyone wishing to build a new secondary suite must apply for a building permit. Homeowners do not need to register existing suites but will need to apply for a building permit if they choose to renovate.
A news release from the town states that under the new bylaw, secondary suites are governed by the BC Building Code to ensure appropriate safety and live-ability standards.
The town says it will investigate complaints regarding existing suites, with priority placed on health and safety violations.
The decision to legalize secondary suites came after months of public consultation and input. The process, facilitated by CitySpaces consulting, involved several open houses, and online and telephone surveys.
The town must now begin Phase 2 of the secondary suites issue. Council will carry out further consultation and planning before implementing many bylaws regarding secondary ‘detached’ suites. A timeline for that process has not been set.
Last Monday’s public hearing was attended by about 10 residents, who asked technical questions such as minimum size requirements for suites and whether the homeowner is required to reside in the home.
During discussions, Councillor Steve Arnett stressed that the management of existing in-home suites will be taken seriously.
Dashwood said she hopes to see public input and participation in future discussions.
“I know a lot of people are waiting to hear about the coach house and garden suites,” she said.
“That’s going to be a huge component for a lot of people.”