Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Oak Bay legalizes secondary suites, Sooke density plan draws controversy, and Saanich ends its term

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

By Capital Daily Staff
September 26, 2022
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Oak Bay legalizes secondary suites, Sooke density plan draws controversy, and Saanich ends its term

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Latest News
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Council roundup: Oak Bay legalizes secondary suites, Sooke density plan draws controversy, and Saanich ends its term

Here’s what is happening at local councils this week

By Capital Daily Staff
September 26, 2022
Get the news and events in Victoria, in your inbox every morning.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Council roundup: Oak Bay legalizes secondary suites, Sooke density plan draws controversy, and Saanich ends its term
Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

After eight-year process, Oak Bay council votes to allow secondary suites

The district had been one of the last local municipalities without a secondary suites bylaw. But as of last Tuesday, the suites are permitted in all single-family lots as long as the suite meets the regulations and requirements outlined here. Homeowners must reside in the principal home. They must also provide either a parking space or an outdoor, labelled, energized outlet capable of providing at least 110V charging for an electric vehicle, scooter, or bike.

Council adopted the policy after a public hearing this month, and after eight years of public consultation and research. The 2014 Official Community Plan process conducted a community survey that found 78% of Oak Bay residents supported secondary suites, and a specific secondary suites study was launched in 2018.

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

This legalization is mainly about addressing the estimated 500 to 750 "unregulated" secondary suites Oak Bay already has. The UVic Students’ Society argued to council in June that without this bylaw many of those suites’ tenants—especially young newcomers—will continue to be mistreated. Meanwhile, Mayor Kevin Murdoch said at that time that the district’s infill housing strategy, not its secondary suites bylaw, would be what would increase local housing supply. 

Read more on the policy here.

Election race: Mayor unchallenged; Nine candidates for six seats

Incumbent Kevin Murdoch is one of four Greater Victoria mayors running unopposed and set to win by acclamation. Among incumbent councillors, Tara Ney is not running but the other five are (Couns. Appleton, Wood Zhelka, Green, Braithwaite, and Paterson).

New council candidates include Raymon Farmere, a network administrator and former executive secretary for the local CUPE union; Roxanne Helme, a lawyer and the 2020 Liberal provincial candidate for Oak Bay-Gordon Head; Carrie Smart, an architect and member of the Oak Bay advisory planning commission; and Lesley Watson, who has worked previously for the BC government and the City of Toronto.

By Ryan Hook

One of the District of Saanich’s garden suite examples.

Saanich creating space for co-ops and criteria for double suites

Unlike Oak Bay, Saanich already allows secondary suites. But there are limits to which other suites they can coexist with on a property.  Coun. Karen Harper introduced a motion last week to have staff consider criteria for allowing both secondary and garden suites on some single-family residential properties. 

Couns. Rebecca Mersereau and Zac de Vries expressed concerns as to whether the motion will do enough to address housing affordability and the district’s climate goals. Harper said making it possible for homeowners to opt for both could help with “more gentle infill” housing in areas of Saanich that are not the focus of dedicated densification efforts. The motion passed with Mersereau, de Vries, and Ned Taylor opposed.

Council also unanimously supported a motion from Mayor Fred Haynes to add co-op housing to its expedited application process to speed up the timeline of upgrades, repairs, and renovations as well as new co-op housing proposals.

Outgoing councillors deliver public amenity reports

Tuesday’s meeting was the final meeting of the current council and the last time the departing Mersereau and Taylor will sit at the table. Fellow council members unanimously supported the pair’s report calling for more public washrooms and water fountains in the district.

“You shouldn’t have to buy a cup of coffee to use the washroom, for example,” said Taylor. “I think the municipality does have a role in providing these facilities to the public free of charge.”

Another motion from Taylor—this one intended to boost opportunities for public art displays featuring local artists and cultural performances in district parks and public spaces—also passed.

By Shannon Waters

Sooke council: OCP heads to hearing, with density the latest controversy

Sooke’s new draft for an Official Community Plan heads to a public hearing at 7pm on Sept. 27 after being put through to that stage in a 4-3 vote on Sept. 8. Mayor Maja Tait argued then that not enough consultation had been done and the matter should be postponed, saying she would commit to promptly resuming the OCP process if re-elected.

At that same meeting, the first public comment came from Dave Saunders, a developer and excavation business owner who is also a former Colwood mayor. He argued that the proposed density tiers would allow too much of Sooke to be developed, clear-cut, and suburbanized; Coun. Dana Lajeneusse, who voted with Tait not to advance the OCP, had similar concerns.

Read the full story on what exactly the draft proposes, in terms of zoning and density, in this breakdown at The Westshore.

By Zoë Ducklow, with files from Cam Welch

902 Foul Bay site photo by James MacDonald

Victoria council: Statue decision, 902 Foul Bay public hearing, and cannabis licensing

Cannabis retailers in Victoria will be able to renew their business licences for much cheaper next year after council voted to drop the annual fee from $5,000 to $1,500. The approved bylaw changes also affect street-view store windows, which must be “transparent and unobstructed windows above four feet” to make sure store interiors are visible. City staff will be contacting affected licence holders and workers, who will have a chance to address council about any concerns regarding the bylaw change at a future meeting.

Macdonald statue will return to historical society

Victoria council voted unanimously to return the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald that once stood outside city hall to the Sir John A. Macdonald Historical Society, which originally donated the statue to the city and wrote to council earlier this month requesting its return.

The city will cover the cost of shipping the statute—which has been in storage since its removal in 2018—to a storage facility in Ladner. The return comes with several conditions, including that the society “safeguard the statue and not seek a place of public display.”

More on the statue motion and the Foul Bay project in Capital Daily’s story last week.

Public hearing on 902 Foul Bay concludes with council to decide its future next week

The public hearing on the rezoning concluded on Thursday but council will continue discussing the controversial townhouse project next week.

By Shannon Waters


Hotel rendering from the Kothari Group

Sidney council considers bylaw changes and airport hotel hopes

Proposed amendments for Sept. 26 would ban fireworks within 200m of a designated Environmentally Sensitive Area, change monthly parking pass costs, and give 2023 and 2024 tax exemptions to Broadmead Care Society’s Rest Haven Lodge.

Monday’s continuing business includes the 129-room Marriott Hotel proposal for near the airport. The staff recommendations are that Sidney send the Victoria Airport Authority comments seeking several things from the project. Those include public washrooms in the hotel itself and improvements to Beacon Avenue West frontage, a Stirling Way sidewalk, and pedestrian routes.

The Saanich Peninsula Accessibility Advisory Committee delivers its report. It will recommend that all three municipalities have a process for letting residents know how to register their concerns about accessibility.

By Cam Welch

Local delegates win policy endorsements at UBCM

At the recent convention of BC municipalities, successful motions included View Royal’s call to preserve the Island Rail Corridor, Central Saanich’s pitch to extend free youth transit to age 13, and more. Read the full breakdown here.

Article Author's Profile Picture
EMAIL:
TWITTER:

Support Your Community, Support Local Journalism

With paid membership, every penny goes directly to helping our newsroom continue its work and helps our team grow and expand our coverage

Become an Insider

Related News

Indigenous learning program brings reconciliation to a local level
Stay connected to your city with the Capital Daily newsletter.
By filling out the form above, you agree to receive emails from Capital Daily. You can unsubscribe at any time.