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Parking, registration, owner-occupancy up for debate as suite legislation talks continue in Oak Bay

One council member ready to ‘get on with it’ as report goes back to advisory committee
(Black Press Media file photo)

Three items flagged by the advisory planning commission appeared before council during its committee meeting review of the secondary suites final strategy report Monday night.

In September, the commission saw the report and noted owner occupancy, parking and registration needed further discussion.

All three came up among council during the committee meeting Oct. 18, and were referred back to the commission.

The framework suggested in the report would see owner occupancy required in either the suite or principal dwelling. It would require further legal review for specific wording.

Coun. Eric Zhelka, who noted currently 24 per cent are renter-occupied, agreed it’s a key consideration “so police aren’t acting as the concierge.”

He also questioned registration and what uptake looked like in other comparable communities, information that wasn’t provided in the report.

Coun. Hazel Braithwaite noted Victoria, in particular, doesn’t require off-street parking for suites “and you can really tell that by the number of cars and boats and trailers in the street.”

She suggested that doesn’t fit in with one of the criteria that suites provide housing while maintaining neighbourhood character.

Coun. Esther Paterson noted the pattern of questions appearing from the commission and reappearing at the committee meeting and asked to have the issues debated again at the planning committee.

RELATED: Oak Bay maintains secondary suite discussion

Coun. Andrew Appleton opposed shifting back, as it’s time for council to have a robust debate and “fundamentally get on with it,” he said, adding he is ready to have the difficult conversation in November (with the current timeline).

“This decision cannot be delayed beyond the 2022 strategic planning and budgeting process,” he said.

Coun. Cairine Green earlier noted the community has been involved and actively engaged since 2010 on the topic. “It’s been kicking around a long time.”

Braithwaite asked staff if the discussion could get before the commission ahead of council’s next meetings, so the current timeline could still be met – she added she’s OK with waiting until December if necessary to “get it right.”

The advisory planning commission meets Nov. 2, while council has Nov. 8 and 22 meetings scheduled for when council will provide direction on implementation and budgetary considerations.

Zhelka, who adamantly voiced his opposition to the legalization of secondary suites in the district, was the only councillor to oppose receipt of the report.

Find the full report and meeting online at

Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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