Third reading of West Kelowna secondary suites bylaw delayed

The vote to give third reading to a bylaw amendment that will eliminate the need for owner occupancy in West Kelowna houses with secondary suites has been delayed.

But the likely result is already known.

Despite a handful of letters opposing the clause to remove the owner occupancy requirement and a few residents voicing concerns at a public hearing last month, council will likely go ahead with third reading.

The decision was part of Tuesday’s agenda; however, it was deferred due to the absence of Coun. David Knowles.

Mayor Doug Findlater, Coun. Duane Ophus and Coun. Gord Milsom indicated they would vote in favour of third reading while Councillors Carol Zanon, Rick de Jong and Bryden Winsby said they would be opposed.

With Knowles—who has voiced support for the bylaw amendment in the past—absent, council voted to defer the decision until next council meeting, rather than having a tie vote and scrapping the amendment.

During last month’s public hearing, West Kelowna resident Morris Leroux said the bylaw amendment is “a real betrayal to the citizens.”

Zanon said she agreed with the letters from the public that showed concern about the amendment changing the character of the community.

“I do believe it is changing the face of neighbourhoods that were never designed to have a duplex type arrangement and I think that this is not the proper way to go,” said Zanon.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Ophus noted the district has mechanisms in place to deal with problems that may arise from the change.

Milsom added a permissive policy will help create more affordable housing options within the community.

“I don’t believe the district should interfere with the residential real estate market by having a restrictive policy that demands owner occupancy,” said Milsom.

The mayor pointed out several municipalities surrounding West Kelowna don’t have the owner occupancy requirement.

“It’s not a unique arrangement to remove the requirement for owner occupancy,” said Findlater.

“We’re simply becoming consistent with what Kelowna and Lake Country and other (municipalities) in the valley have.”


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