Neighbours upset over suites

Residents of a Coldstream subdivision are rallying to remove some unwanted neighbours

Residents of a Coldstream subdivision are rallying to remove some unwanted neighbours.

“We are being inundated with illegal suites,” said John Pringle, one of 16 residents fed up with secondary suites, and the added traffic they bring, in the Sage Pointe and Bayview Heights subdivisions.

“As far as we can reckon there are seven illegal suites and one of the homes has two suites.”

Suites are not permitted in single-family subdivisions, therefore building inspectors will not approve  homes with secondary kitchens. But generally what happens is suites are constructed after the inspection.

“It’s very, very difficult to ensure compliance with that over the long-term,” said Michael Stamhuis, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer.

Enforcement is typically only on a complaint basis, and Coldstream staff say that the situation is being addressed.

“He (bylaw enforcement officer) makes himself a nuisance to the illegal suite owner and it has typically been successful,” said Stamhius.

One of the illegal suites on Sage Pointe Crescent has been shut down, while tenants in another suite have been given 30-day notice to vacate by their owners.

Residents opposed to the suites have given Coldstream a list of other suites in the area and Pringle suggests that the district could be liable if they aren’t dealt with.

“If there was a fire it is possible that the district could be responsible if there was a loss of life or injury,” said Pringle.

Coldstream will be re-examining the issue and will also be looking at options for increased density in other areas of the community.

Suites provide affordable housing in the community (as well as helping homeowners afford their own mortgages), but there are also many short-term rental units within the area.

“We have to admit, we live in a very desirable area for tourists,” said Coun. Maria Besso.