Council rejects suite for senior

Whitehorse City Council has rejected a Takhini resident's proposal to build a garden suite for his elderly mother. Dan Cable owns a vacant piece of property at 57 Carpiquet Rd. in Takhini North.

Whitehorse City Council has rejected a Takhini resident’s proposal to build a garden suite for his elderly mother.

Dan Cable owns a vacant piece of property at 57 Carpiquet Rd. in Takhini North. He wants to build a house for his family and a two-bedroom garden suite for his mother, June, who is going blind.

She no longer drives, and has already fallen twice down the stairs in her Riverdale duplex. Building the garden suite will be expensive. To help cover the costs, Cable wants to build a two-bedroom living suite in the main house that he can rent out.

Zoning regulations allow for either a garden suite or a living suite, not both.

Residents were concerned about increased parking in the area. The property has an alleyway in the back that connects it to three off-road parking spaces. The Cables only have one car. Building a living suite would also add a needed rental property to the city, Cable told council.

But the city’s planning department said it was more important to maintain the integrity of the neighbourhood. And there was nothing about the property itself that could keep zoning regulations from being met. It recommended council deny the request for both a garden suite and a living suite.

The majority of city councillors agreed with administration. They felt the neighbours’ concerns needed to be recognized. And they were afraid others would use similar arguments to build extra suites, then sell them to make money.

But Coun. Kirk Cameron was not so easily convinced. “I don’t believe it will set a precedent for the community,” he said before the vote, noting that not a lot of people are likely to “take off and try to do the same thing.”

The bylaw was defeated at second reading by a vote of 4-2. Cameron and Coun. John Streicker voted in favour of the zoning change.

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