Secondary Suites–Proposed… Again!

Today at 9:30 am there will be a Standing Policy Committee (SPC) meeting that will talk about Mayor Nenshi’s new Secondary Suites Proposal, a proposal that was originally drafted by UrbanCSA in collaboration with the Student’s Union at the University of Calgary. In Calgary in almost all neighbourhoods, except for pre-1950s neighbourhoods, secondary suites are banned under zoning regulations. First off what are secondary suites and why do we care? I love this graphic, I got it off of Edmonton’s website. It really helps explain what secondary suites are… Pretty much to sum it up, it is a separate living space within a single detached dwelling that has all of the necessary facilities. Most of the time secondary suites are basement suites. Some of the advantages of legalizing secondary suites are:

1) It helps the homeowner pay off their mortgage quicker, or even just make some extra cash.

2) It will help with keeping urban sprawl in check.. yes Calgary has urban sprawl.

3)Provides more safety because there will be more people going in and out of homes during the day providing more ‘eyes on the street’.

4) Create another affordable housing option by providing more renting options. From a student’s perspective, this is really nice.

Anyways, if you are passionate about this issue and want to have your voice heard, contact your Alderman or go to the SPC meeting today. The meeting is scheduled to be in the Engineering Traditions Committee Room at 9:30am.  Or perhaps you just want to learn more about it, check out the City Council’s agenda meetings website ( and click on the Secondary Suites Update link and you can find all of the available PDFs from City Council of what they are proposing.



  1. Tom S. · February 16, 2011

    You can email all of the city councilors at:

    What you write doesn’t have to be a prolific, academic work of art. Just tell them that you support the idea that secondary suites should be legal EVERYWHERE in the city, why you think this should be (safety of existing ‘illegal’ tenants, help affordable housing crunch, etc) and if you or someone you know is in a situation, briefly explain it in the email as the power of stories goes a long way in swaying peopl

  2. Tom S. · February 16, 2011

    And if you can make it down to the Municipal building today to actually be present at the meeting, that would be even more powerful. You can likely get a couple minutes of talk time to TELL council BEFORE they vote, telling them they should get on with passing bylaw that every other city in Canada already has.

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