Secondary suite bylaw goes back to drawing board

The hotly-contested secondary suites bylaw was once again up for discussion at the monthly RDEK meeting on June 8.

The Regional District of East Kootenay had their monthly meeting on Friday (June 8) and the hotly-contested secondary suites bylaw was once again up for discussion.

The board had unanimously agreed at its last meeting on May 5 to direct regional staff to begin developing a bylaw allowing secondary suites in residential zones throughout the Upper Columbia Valley. At the June 8 meeting, directors Gerry Taft, Gerry Wilke and Ute Juras all expressed their support of secondary suites in the valley, but were met with strong opposition from director Wendy Booth. Booth noted that in all the municipalities of her region — Area F — the bylaw was virtually opposed across the board by every community member she had spoken with.

She said that while the bylaw amendment made sense when it was first brought before council two years ago, she felt there was no longer a need for it in her area and that many communities had expressed concerns that higher density would severely tax community amenities. Area G director Wilke was particularly vocal in his support of the district-wide amendment. When it came time to vote, the bylaw was referred to staff for recommendations of options excluding Area F or portions thereof from the proposed secondary suite bylaw amendment.