The City of Williams Lake is encouraging residents to fill out a survey in order to collect public input on rental suites in single family homes.
A survey is available online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NN38NPT and at city hall at 450 Mart St.
The survey will also be available during Local Government Awareness Week events next week: Wednesday, May 23 at Canadian Tire, Thursday, May 24 at the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex, and Friday, May 25 at Save On Foods, from 1-5 p.m. each day.
The survey asks questions about whether the city should allow secondary suites where the homeowner does not live in the home, and how the city should approach duplexes with secondary suites. Currently, the policy states that suites are not allowed in homes where the owner is renting both the main part of the house, as well as the suite. This requirement reflects a higher number of complaints about noise and property maintenance, where homeowners do not live in the home. It is believed that if the owner lives in the home, there will be fewer issues and complaints from both the neighbourhood and the tenant. Houses with both the main and secondary suite rented are not permitted and would either need to remove their suite or consider an application to rezone to an R-2 designation (Two Family residential).
Under the secondary suites bylaw, Williams Lake zoning bylaws, and the B.C. Building Code, secondary suites are not allowed in duplexes. There are multiple safety and fire risks for suites in duplexes, as suites in duplexes have been built without building permits, the city say.
“The city has proceeded cautiously in order minimize the impact on rental stock, city resources, and so that renters, home owners and the community are well educated on the policy,” says Coun. Laurie Walters, chair of the Community Services Committee. “As we move forward, it’s very important that we have heard from the public, and I encourage residents to complete this survey.”