Council discusses secondary suite utility discounts

Council discusses secondary suite utility discounts

Kimberley City Staff and Council have proposed a change to the bylaw surrounding water and sewer utilities for secondary suites.

At a Committee of the Whole Meeting on Monday, Nov. 20 the financial implications of the potential change were presented.

City Chief Financial Officer, Jim Hendricks says that they have to adopt the bylaw by the end of the year in order for it to become effective on January 1.

“The notion of reducing fees for secondary suites was contemplated as an incentive for homeowners considering construction of a suite as a means of bringing in some rental income while providing an affordable housing alternative to the community,” said a report to Council.

The following outlines the financial implications for annual forgone revenue.

Water: 48 suites receiving a 50 per cent reduction per suite (238.56) would see an annual foregone revenue of $11,450.

Sewer: 48 suites receiving a 50 per cent reduction per suite (162.67) would see an annual foregone revenue of $7,808.

Manager of Planning Services, Troy Pollock says that the City’s zoning bylaw was amended in 2010 to open up opportunities for secondary units, suites, accessory dwellings, carriage house dwellings etc.

“We made [these] provisions in the R2 zone, which is pretty much 75 per cent of the existing residential neighbourhoods in town,” explained Polluck.

Polluck says the uptake on secondary suites hasn’t been as great as they would like. He says “we’re getting there”, but there “should definitely be more”.

“One of the things that people point out is the cost of that. It’s not inexpensive to develop a secondary suite, whatever type it is. There’s certain building code, life safety issues, that must be in place for the safety of both occupants or sides of that dwelling. The utility rates are one of those ones that I think would be a good incentive to help encourage some more [secondary dwellings],” Polluck said.