Victoria council votes to make it easier for homeowners to build garden suites

In a city facing a sustained shortage of rental units, Victoria council voted late Thursday to make it easier for the owners of single-family homes to help ease the crisis.

Councillors unanimously approved changes to the rules governing the construction of garden suites.

Homeowners will no longer have to obtain rezoning permission or go through a subsequent public hearing.

Council estimates that will mean avoiding thousands of dollars in fees as well long delays.

Since 2011, only 18 garden suites have been built in Victoria, far fewer than cities such as Vancouver.

Council hopes the changes will see a big jump in applications.

“It has the potential to be a very large step, we hope homeowners will consider it” said Mayor Lisa Helps.

Most properties in Victoria will be affected by the change.

During public consultations, some raised concerns about the lack of input other homeowners will now have in the process.

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