Secondary suites still in limbo

Calgary city council will not be conducting a plebiscite or public consultation to gather Calgarians’ opinions on secondary suites.

According to councillor Druh Farrell the public consultations would cost the city in excess of $1 million and wouldn’t have changed the minds of councillors regardless of the outcome. “The opinions don’t seem to be changing” Farrell says. “Each councillor has an established point of view that seems to be entrenched and no education or public consultation will change that.”

The views of the alderman are not necessarily reflective of their constituents as the majority of Calgarians are in favour of or not opposed to the suites says Farrell. She adds that this issue is similar to the curbside recycling debate which finally went through due to public pressure. “The first time we hear an idea it seems foreign” she says. “We need that same kind of public pressure that made it impossible to vote against (curbside recycling).”

Farrell says the next step will be for groups in favour of the suites from the Chamber of Commerce to faith-based groups home builders and urban development institutes to advocate to the public and gain more support. “There are certainly outstanding concerns” Farrell says. “But we need to talk about them and address them specifically rather than just having a blanket ban.”