Letter: The last thing Burnaby needs are even bigger houses


I am so disappointed that (the issue of making houses bigger) is even a question being discussed by Burnaby city council.

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The only people who think that they need bigger houses in order to have space for a basement suite are the people who have built houses already the maximum size allowed under city bylaws.

If what is being discussed gets allowed then anyone who has built extra square footage under their roof - a crawl space, a deck -  they then could finish these spaces, put in a sink, a stove, a fridge and such, get approved, then never rent any space at all. They just get bigger houses. 

After the inspector leaves, who is going to check that these people are really adding rental space?

Who benefits? The people with the big houses benefit by getting bigger houses.

Often, people who can only afford smaller homes, they really need the “mortgage helper” so they can afford the mortgage. So, they put up with the noise and smells that come with having a secondary suite.

How many people, with the biggest houses, are really going to share their space and live with the associated noises and smells?

If the city changes the bylaws to allow big houses to be bigger, the big winners will be the owners of these big houses and not because they get rental income, only because they get bigger houses.

Seriously, will the City of Burnaby be policing the big houses to make sure that they really rent these suites to help with the need for affordable housing?

All that really should come from this discussion is a tightening of the bylaws so that houses are only built with “allowable square footage under the roof.” No more crawl spaces, no more decks, to be finished after the inspector leaves. 

Now get on with the discussion of making housing affordable for families. Make the big houses into duplexes and multiple independent addresses. 

Get creative. Built two-level townhouses with yards on the bottom levels of buildings, then build condos above. Then could the builders still tell us that condos need to be so expensive because of the cost of the land?

Leslie Zenger, Burnaby

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