Brenda McBain

Brenda McBain

Phased approach to secondary suites urged in Ladysmith

The Town of Ladysmith needs to take a phased approach to implementing secondary suites, according to new information from consulting firm CitySpaces.

The information, along with a number of other recommendations and survey results, were presented at a Community Open House held Saturday, May 14 at LSS.

“Generally, what we’ve heard is that suites in a dwelling are supported. The question is should we also move towards the detached suites?” said Lisa Brinkman, planner with the Town of Ladysmith.

Phase 1 of the recommendation would see the development of regulations that would permit in-home suites, which is consistent with the current Official Community Plan, said Brenda McBain of CitySpaces Consulting Ltd.

Phase 2 would include developing and adopting regulations for detached suites at a later date, if there is sufficient support. A detached suite is defined as any suite built above a garage or a separate suite on the same property.

“We think that all of the forms of suites are suitable for the community, but the recommended approach, which is a more cautious, phased approach, seems to fit with the level of support,” McBain said.

Residents are also being encouraged to consider options such as parking standards, suite registration, suite size and safety standards.

The recommendations from CitySpaces came after a series of community forums held last month, along with the telephone and online surveys.

The telephone survey, conducted mid-April, found that 91 per cent of participants were in favour of in-home suites, while only 54 per cent supported detached ground-level suites.

The survey was conducted on 200 respondents by the Mustel Group and reflects the Ladysmith community by age, gender and tenure.

Survey participants identified key concerns such as parking and impact on the landscape of the neighbourhood.

A second Secondary Suites open house will take place tonight in the program room at the Frank Jameson Community Centre from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Once complete, consultants and senior town staff will compile the data and discuss what direction to take next.

“I think they could see their way to having regulations in place this year for in-home suites,” McBain said.

Homeowners Ana Grisales and Ed Mahecha attended Saturday’s open house session.

“It’s going to benefit the whole community, especially when you are a homeowner. You want to hear that you’re doing the right thing, that you’re going to be able to rent your suite and that it’s going to be safe and the right price,” Mahecha said.

Mahecha and Grisales are in the construction industry and plan to offer input regarding minimum safety code standards for suites.

“It’s a better alternative than building condominiums and highrises. So I prefer to bring new options to the community that allows people to come here and live in the area at no higher cost,” Grisales said. “It’s a great way to bring new people into the town.”

The data presented will be available on the Town of Ladysmith’s website on Wednesday, May 18.

Residents unable to attend the open houses will have until the end of the month review the information and fill out the corresponding survey at www.ladysmith.ca