A suite issue for Calgary housing
February 15, 2011
Today, a group of 5 Calgary business organizations spoke about a suite issue. Secondary suites. The Calgary Chamber of Commerce, UDI, NAIOP, Calgary Real Estate Board and the Canadian Homebuilders Association jointly called upon Calgary City Council to vote in favour of city-wide secondary suites on March 7.
The benefits of suites are clear. They have been well documented and experienced. They have been shown to:
- Increase housing choice in Calgary, particularly much needed affordable rental housing
- Enable Calgarians to achieve homeownership faster, or enable Calgarians to stay in their home longer
- Make more dwelling units safer, and
- Increase property values
However, the opporutnity to do all of this is at risk. It is at risk because of misinformation and misperception of what COULD happen, versus real conversation around what DOES happen when cities adopt these kinds of bylaws.
The Calgary Chamber of Commerce has long supported secondary suites in all residential districts. It was part of our Great Calgary campaign during the 2010 Civic Election – see http://www.greatcalgary.ca/news/36-news/83-news-article-12.html .
What we are calling for today is to show Calgary City Council that a coalition of business supports them in making secondary suites legal in all residential districts. But in order to do that, we need to get the right facts and experiences on the table to enable informed decision making. For if we do that, I think many of the fears will be alleviated. And we can make a great Calgary even greater.