November 30, 2022

La Ronge Northerner

Complete Canadian News World

Municipalities are beginning to shift to secondary chambers

However, some cities are beginning to allow the development of so-called accessory dwelling units. A form of soft density that can address the housing crisis and difficulties in accessing property.

The city of Sainte-Catherine on the south coast is a pioneer in this regard. It reviewed its by-laws, which only allowed the development of heritage homes.

“Over 10 years, we have had nine project requests and only one has been carried out as per the norms. It was so complicated that people abandoned their plans or requested exemptions,” says Marie-Josie Halpin, director of regional planning and economic development.

The rules specifically stipulate that residents have to share a common entrance or rooms within the residence, which is not happy for everyone. “Regulations are made to accommodate the individual, especially an older person,” Ms. Halbin explains.

From January, you are allowed to add an apartment to your apartment or build a house in your backyard. These units can be rented to anyone, not necessarily a family member.

The purpose of the city is to allow access to a new form of housing, a new form of property. »

A quote Marie-Josie Halbin, Director of Land Use Planning and Economic Development for the City of St.-Catherine

Unlike Toronto or Vancouver, most cities in Quebec prohibit the addition of a second residence. Nevertheless, it can help address the housing shortage. They are called accessory dwelling units; A detached house in the backyard or an extension attached to an existing building. Report by Oliver Bachand.

A family plan

It was precisely for this reason that Ariane Duguay and her mother applied for permission to build a second floor on the family bungalow.

With the current housing market, it was difficult to access a property. »

A quote Ariane Duguay, future tenant

Their plan was the first to be accepted by the Town Planning Advisory Board under the new law. If all goes well, construction will begin in March, and next summer the young woman will be able to move into the shelter just above her parents’.

“We’ll have a common entrance, then each door to enter our apartments, and then we’ll share the yard, the parking lot, and the garage,” he explains.

If she ever moves, her parents won’t be caught off guard. “It’s possible to rent to someone who’s not in the family,” says Huguette Arsenio, Ariane’s mother.

This new possibility is creating some excitement, as the city receives three to four requests for information on the development of accessory dwelling units each week.

Other cities are taking turns

The city of Granby enacted a similar law a year ago. No one has yet taken advantage of it, but Mayor Julie Borden notes that several citizens have filed requests for information.

According to him, many properties have a large plot, for example, that can accommodate backyard maisonettes. Construction of a dwelling attached to a house is also permitted.

“First to soften density, but allow better access to housing […] It can be used as extra income, to accommodate a loved one, parent, child or whoever,” he says.

For the City of Granby, this is a way to improve rental supply while the vacancy rate is only 0.1%.

Stephen Boyer, Mayor of Laval.

Stephen Boyer is the mayor of Laval.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Graham Hughes

With its new urban planning code, the city of Laval now allows housing additions to a detached house, but it does not authorize the construction of tiny houses in backyards.

As for the city of Longueuil, it will begin a pilot project in subsidized housing units next year.

For its part, the City of Montreal notes that these units will be part of the reflections as part of a revision of its Urban Planning and Mobility Plan, which will guide the city until 2050.

A call to generalize practice

In most municipalities in Quebec, the construction of annexes in addition to family homes is prohibited. But sometimes organized illegally.

The director of Ecohabitation, an organization that helps individuals and professionals realize their housing projects, showed us one of them: a garage converted into an apartment overlooking an alley in Montreal.

Emmanuel Cosgrove does not understand why this type of accommodation is still prohibited.

This is happening under the radar and we believe it is high time to recognize this phenomenon. Not only acknowledge it, but allow and encourage it. »

A quote Emmanuel Cosgrove, Director of Environmental Habitat

According to him, municipalities in Quebec should follow suit in other provinces where sub-residential units are approved.

“We’re talking about cities like Ontario, British Columbia, Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa… they have regulations, citizen assistance, guides, advisors,” he says.

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