Calgary

Secondary suites bylaw, plebiscite rejected by city council

Calgary councillors rejected a plan to make it easier for homeowners to have secondary suites in a handful of Calgary wards.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi expects the idea will be debated during the next civic election

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi says the issue of secondary suites will probably be a debate for the next civic election. (CBC)

Calgary councillors rejected a plan to make it easier for homeowners to have secondary suites in a handful of Calgary wards.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Monday's vote means council has pushed the secondary suite issue to the next election.

"I imagine that we can actually breathe a bit of a sigh and not do any work on this file for a little while," he said.

Councillors voted Monday against holding an expensive, non-binding plebiscite on the issue at the next municipal election. Then they rejected moving forward on legalizing secondary suites in wards 7, 8, 9 and 11.

In both cases, councillors voted 9-6.

The rejected bylaw would have legalized the suites in the central Calgary wards, replacing the case-by-case approval process that Nenshi has called time-consuming and arbitrary.

Councillors representing those wards supported the move and suggested there was little political risk for other council members.

However councillors opposed to making the process easier pointed out that although more than 100,000 homes in the city can have legal secondary suites, only a few dozen applications are received each year.

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