White Rock council is getting set to consider implementing a secondary suite fee that would see homeowners with renters paying an additional $250 a year.
The proposed bylaw is similar to that of the City of Surrey, where secondary suites are much more prevalent. However, secondary suite owners in Surrey are subject to higher fees than what's proposed in White Rock, with metered customers paying $536 plus water and non-metered owners paying $1,288.
According to White Rock Mayor Wayne Baldwin, the proposed fee is simply a way for the city to ensure that its services are being adequately paid for.
"People who have secondary suites essentially have an apartment in their own home and it seems reasonable that, given the people who are living in those suites use the same services as everyone else, they should pay a fair share of it, so that's an attempt to pay that inequity," he said.
When asked about the estimated number of secondary suite residences in White Rock, Baldwin said he didn't have an exact number but estimated that in a single-family area of about 3,500 homes, about a thousand would have them.
As for the amount proposed, Coun. Alan Campbell said he doesn't consider $250 an unreasonable number for people to pay.
"When you're renting a suite, it costs more for our utilities," he said. "So we're asking for $250 a year to help with the additional use of those utilities."
Finally, Baldwin said he doesn't think residents will object to the fee, seeing as it's aimed at making things more equitable for everyone in the city.
"The secondary suite is an income for the home owner, a lot of people call them 'mortgage helpers' and it seems like the reasonable thing to do if people are going to be using the services we have, they should pay for them," he said.
Council is set to vote on first, second and third readings of the secondary suite bylaw at Monday night's (March 25) council meeting.
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