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LETTER: Suites threaten neighbourhoods’ character

The Oak Bay News recently published a letter written by Jan Mears regarding secondary suites. In that letter, she listed things that she thinks are wrong with Oak Bay’s secondary accommodation bylaws and spoke in favour of secondary suites.

She spoke of the items on the list as if they were facts but provided no evidence or factual foundation for the statements. Perhaps her most egregious generalization was that “secondary suites are everywhere across Oak Bay.” However, she again provided no evidence or facts to support that allegation. In fact, there has never been an analysis of where or how many secondary accommodations there are in single-family Oak Bay homes that are contrary to our zoning bylaws.

One of the cornerstones of good government is that sound public policy must be evidence based. It must be based on evidence and established facts, not on ideologies, beliefs, unproven assumptions or unfounded opinions.

Amending our bylaws to expand the number of secondary accommodations in single-family home neighborhoods would adversely affect the quality of life in those neighborhoods. Oak Bay council in the past has acknowledged that we will see among other things increased vehicle traffic, more congested on-street parking, and a decrease in the quality of our neighborhoods’ character. Other obvious concerns including increased municipal costs and additional burdens on municipal infrastructure have also been raised by residents in the past.

I enjoy living in Oak Bay. Our present bylaws are serving us well. The quality of our lives here are second to none. I don’t want to see that diminished by bylaw amendments that fail to preserve the quality of life that we presently enjoy.

Bruce Filan

Oak Bay