Calgary

Calgary's 'ridiculous' secondary suite process must be fixed, Naheed Nenshi says

Calgary's mayor is calling on voters to turn up the heat on their councillors to fix the way the city deals with secondary suite applications.

Mayor says citizens should not feel compelled to share personal details in order to get approval

Mayor Naheed Nenshi says Calgary must find a better way of handling requests to build basement suites. (CBC)

Calgary's mayor is calling on voters to turn up the heat on their councillors to fix the way the city deals with secondary suite applications.

City council heard 38 applications at Monday's meeting, approving all but four of them.

During the public hearings, a couple of the applicants cried as they relayed personal stories of their need for a legal secondary suite.

Naheed Nenshi says it's embarrassing that people feel the need to tell such stories to get approved and for council to have to listen. 

"We should not have to have citizens come up and cry about the loss of their spouse and their lack of income or about losing their job or about a brain injury that put them onto disability and even about the fact that they've never much liked their neighbour for 35 years and those kids are too darned loud," he said.

"Why are we doing this to ourselves? It is ridiculous. No other city in Canada does this and I think citizens have a right to be upset about it."

Nenshi says he tells citizens it's not necessary for them to give their personal reasons for wanting a suite, but often councillors do ask for background information.

If council can't find a new method for secondary suites before next year's election, Nenshi says voters should ask candidates for their ideas.

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