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Letter: Good for council for formalizing illegal suite response

Our rise in illegal suites signals a big need for more housing

Good for council for formalizing illegal suite response

Dear mayor and council:

I fully applaud, for safety and sanitation reasons, council’s drive (Sept. 2 Citizen) to formalize enforcement of our illegal-suite bylaws.

Preventing fires, vermin infestations and other dangers is why our bylaws must not only be written but firmly enforced before risks become realities, affecting citizens, families and neighbourhoods.

However, our rise in illegal suites signals a big need for more housing that is not being met sufficiently by council working with homeowners and developers.

I do realize there will always be scofflaws installing illegal suites.

Still, I urge council and staff to continue searching for ways, such as tax breaks, for homeowners and developers to build more truly affordable housing for our ever-growing and aging population.

Those creative ideas, with attendant legislation, could help boost supplies and meet demands for safe, legal, affordable housing — thereby helping to reduce illegal suites and our rising ranks of homelessness.

Some property owners use illegal suites to collect non-taxed rent while skirting safety and building-code regulations.

This sadly puts themselves, renters and neighbours at risk while also reducing property values.

That is clearly criminal behaviour so I support council’s action to stem this greedily ignorant activity.

Peter W. Rusland

North Cowichan

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