Council drops proposal to licence secondary suites

A proposal to license secondary suites in Red Deer was axed in city council chambers on Tuesday.

A proposal to license secondary suites in Red Deer was axed in city council chambers on Tuesday.

Council voted against giving second reading to the Secondary Suites Licensing Bylaw.

City council listened to an outcry from owners of self-contained suites during a January public hearing that they’ve already spent thousands of dollars bringing their suites up to proper building and safety codes. They didn’t want more red tape and an annual fee, which staff had suggested should be $165.

The city had looked at licensing because it was felt it would help determine ownership, ensure the suite remains active, prevent unauthorized suites to remain open, and allow new applications to be considered for approval when existing suites are removed.

Administration reviewed the proposed bylaw and after considering public input, recommended that final readings not go forward.

Lani Parr, chair of the Secondary Suite Regulation Ad Hoc Review Committee, said they had recommended going with licensing, but at a lower annual fee of $55.

“The majority of (the committee) felt strongly that tracking was very important for several reasons,” said Parr.

For one thing, it would help with keeping the city informed on a continual basis on where these suites are, as well as numbers and the like, she added.

Administration reported that although information may not be updated regularly, Alberta Land Titles can be used to find ownership information.

Coun. Frank Wong, a member of the ad-hoc committee, was the sole one to oppose the defeat of second reading.

He said that this has been the second or third time that the committee has come forward with a recommendation and yet council wants to go its own way.

“These people have worked hard,” said Wong.

Mayor Morris Flewwelling replied that council and administration have worked hard on this issue as well.

Coun. Lynne Mulder, the other council representative on the committee, said she didn’t agree with the recommendation made by the ad-hoc committee.

“We don’t differentiate between rental units and secondary suites, so I don’t think it’s fair to license one and not the other,” said Mulder. “And I believe we have a way to track secondary suites through Land Titles, occupancy permits, etc. I don’t think we need to impose another penalty.”

l Council approved accepting waste generated from the Town of Bowden to go to Red Deer’s landfill. Coun. Lynne Mulder, council representative on the Regional Waste Management Services Commission board, said the commission is looking at doing a needs assessment after the Plasco Energy Group’s waste-to-energy plant project was recently scrapped by the nine municipalities that includes Bowden and Red Deer.