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Letter: Burnaby basement suites should be homeowners' decision

Every basement suite is needed on Burnaby's rental market today, where there are astronomical rents and low supply.
Basement suites have been demonized in Burnaby but they provide much-needed housing, says a reader.


Re: “‘There has to be a better way’: Basement suites up for debate in Burnaby.

I am a homeowner in my 40s, who purchased my parents’ central-Burnaby house as a discount into home ownership. My discount is effectively prepaid rent for their term living in our legal “in-law suite” (2-bed+, 2-bath basement suite). My parents bought the house in the 1990s.

Effectively, a basement suite is a huge mortgage-helper for home owners who have purchased very expensive houses in Burnaby. A basement can be designed as a very desirable living space, as my parents have done! All this, within existing properties. With so many hills in Burnaby, many homes can even have a walk-out basement suite.

My opinion: Let homeowners decide what to do with their dwelling, within Building Code and bylaws.

I find the article is very biased against basement suites, as has traditionally been the City of Burnaby. I don’t think Coun. Gu speaks for the average basement suite renter. Every basement suite is needed on the rental market today, where we find astronomical rents and low supply. For each housing advocate against basement suites, I bet you can find 10 advocates that would like Burnaby to grow up and facilitate basement suites to create affordable living spaces.

As for carbon footprints, renovating an existing basement would be far less carbon-intensive than any demolish/replace new-build. If you’re building a foundation, it’s not that much more work to make it into a comfortable basement dwelling. Again, let the homeowner decide.

Andrew Woodruff