Calgary Business Coalition supports secondary suites in all neighborhoods
Joint statement from five leading Calgary business organizations
CALGARY, Feb. 15 /CNW/ - The Calgary Chamber of Commerce and other leading business organizations including CREB® (Calgary Real Estate Board), the Canadian Home Builders' Association - Calgary Region (CHBA), NAIOP, the commercial real estate development association, and the Urban Development Institute (UDI) have joined together to strongly support permitting secondary suites in all residential areas, provided certain conditions are met.
This issue will be discussed at The City of Calgary Standing Policy Committee on Land Use, Planning & Transportation on February 16 and City Council in March.
Benefits of allowing secondary suites in all residential areas include:
- Cost-effectively expanding rental supply;
- Assisting current and prospective owners to pay and qualify for mortgages;
- Improving the safety and quality of existing non-conforming suites;
- Increasing the use of existing infrastructure; and
- Expanding choice of neighbourhood locations for renters.
At $1,064 Calgary has the third highest average two-bedroom apartment rent of Canadian cities behind Vancouver and Toronto, according to the latest Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation Rental Market Report (Fall 2010). Regarding purchase affordability, our city doesn't fare much better. Calgary has the fourth highest average home sale price ($381,308 at the end of 2010) in Canada behind Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto, according to the Canadian Real Estate Association.
The City of Calgary estimates that 19 per cent of all households in Calgary remain at risk of becoming homeless.
Cities such as Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver have adopted policies to permit secondary suites in all residential areas.
Key considerations for city-wide allowance of secondary suites could include:
- Owner-occupancy requirements;
- Adequate parking is available or waived near transit;
- Maximum occupancy limit (2 bedroom, 5 people); and
- Building codes and health and safety standards are met.
This position is supported by six community business partners who look forward to actively participating in the public discussion and debate leading up to a City Council decision in March.
"Calgary business recognizes the link between housing affordability and
the ability to attract and retain workers. Permitting secondary suites
in all neighbourhoods will cost-effectively expand the rental supply
and improve the quality of life offered by our city. Experience in
other major cities including Edmonton and Vancouver shows that allowing
secondary suites in all communities has not had the negative impact
that some have predicted. The majority of secondary suite occupants
value the same thing as owners - a quiet, stable, family-oriented
neighbourhood. It was only about five years ago that we faced a housing
affordability crisis with rents soaring. Allowing secondary suites in
all neighbourhoods makes an immediate impact now to lower housing costs
and gives us a relief valve in the future if needed."
- Adam Legge, President + CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
"Housing affordability and choice will be big contributors to Calgarians' quality of life in the years to come and secondary suites have a role to play in this. Secondary suites can help seniors stay in their homes longer and can provide important accommodation for live-in care takers and nursing aids. Secondary suites can also help young families realize homeownership sooner through the support of additional rental income. And at a time when we are looking for greener housing options, secondary suites offer an affordable and sustainable housing choice for Calgarians."
- Sano Stante, President, CREB® (Calgary Real Estate Board)
"This is about protecting those most vulnerable today and making sure there are affordable housing options for the next wave of economic growth and labour need."
- Donna Moore, CEO, Canadian Home Builders Association - Calgary Region (CHBA)
"We believe that safe, affordable housing is an issue in Calgary and legalizing secondary suites provides a means by which good quality housing can be provided to those in need. In addition, ensuring that existing illegal suites are brought up to health and safety standards is long overdue. For Calgary to remain an attractive place to live and work, all types of housing need to be available - this ultimately attracts the best people and the best companies to live and work in our City."
- John Marotta, President, NAIOP
"As Calgary leads Alberta out of the global economic recession, there will once again be a pressing demand for affordable rental housing to accommodate the influx of people coming here to gain employment. The provision of secondary suites will be an important option in order to absorb and foster this growth which benefits all Calgarians."
- Michael Flynn, Executive Director, Urban Development Institute (UDI)
For further information:
CalgaryChamber of Commerce
Stacey Hatcher, Media Advisor
CREB® (Calgary Real Estate Board)
Jason Martin, Manager, Communications
John Marotta, President
Senior Vice President, Western Region, Bentall Kennedy (Canada) LP, 403-303-2421
Urban Development Institute (UDI)
Michael Flynn, Executive Director