Tuxedo Park Community Association

Update from Ward 9 Office on Secondary Suite Debate

A message from Ward 9 Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra:



Dear Neighbour,


The battle to allow secondary suites throughout Calgary last term ended in a stalemate. When the smoke cleared, suites were permitted in single family houses in all “R” land use districts with the exception of “R-1” and “RC-1”. While this successfully addressed the majority of Ward 9 single family houses, a large number of my constituents remain unable to legally suite their homes as circumstances require and opportunities present. Additionally, the majority of illegal suites in Calgary (which currently exist in semi-detached housing in “R” districts) remain outside of the law and present significant safety and social justice challenges to countless Calgarians who call these suites home.


As such, and because we have a new Council that seems unwilling to carry the ball any further down the field, I have joined with the three other Councillors who represent Calgary’s inner city communities to begin the process again, this time geared specifically towards the neighbourhoods of Wards 7, 8, 9 and 11, as well as towards all areas within a 600m radius of our City’s LRT stations.


I am sympathetic to the housing crunch our City faces. I understand that it is an expensive and risky process to put a suite in and I hope we can work together to find a solution. Given the absence of broad policy direction, and the need to rewrite the current rules on suites to strike a better balance between life safety and build-ability, I’m happy to join with Councillors Farrell, Pincott, and Woolley to restart this process. At the June 9th Combined Public Hearing of Council we are bringing forward the following Notice of Motion (PDF from Council agenda here). It is likely that this Notice of Motion will be tabled until September to give Council more time to consult with our communities and constituents. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with your questions, concerns, and suggestions.




Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra


Links you might like:


You can help too!

  • Send your comments about Secondary Suites to us and ask your friends and family to do the same
  • Forward this message to other interested parties and have them email the office to get on the contact list


Next Steps

(upcoming actions)

  • Team Ward 9 Team will continue to collect comments from our constituents and Calgary residents.
  • Team Ward 9 will also keep you updated as the issue progresses

(most recent to least recent)

June 5/14 Update #6 went out
Jan 14/14 Update #5 went out
Jan 1/13 Fee for land use redesignation for a secondary suite was removed
Sept 16/13 As a result of the flood and the need for housing ReportC2013-0644 made many good recommendations regarding secondary suites including directingAdministration to amend the fee bylaw to remove the land use amendment and development permit fees associated with secondary suites.
July 29/13 Council approved report C2013-0176, that directs Administration to undertake a review of existing policies and develop guidelines, including stakeholder engagement, with regards to the Land Use Bylaw to be used by Administration in the review of land use and  development permit applications to improve predictability for applicants of secondary suites
April 9/12 Council approved the suite safety approach to establish safe and compliant secondary suites in Calgary. Council also directed administration to conduct a pilot program from May 2012 – April 2013 involving 50 sample suites in all land use districts.
Sept 19/11 Council voted against holding a plebiscite on the Secondary Suites issue.
Sept 19/11 Secondary Suites and the Legal Implications of a public vote (E2011-12 ) report filed by Council
Sept 19/11 Second and Third reading to the proposed Bylaw 33P2011 carried.
Sept 12/11 First reading to the proposed Bylaw 33P2011 carried.
Aug 11/11 Update #4 went out
July 25/11 Councillor Carra introduced a Notice of Motion, NM2011-28: Additional Unit within a Semi-Detached Dwelling (pdf), to rectify a problem identified with the March 7thCouncil direction to make Secondary Suites permitted in all zones except R-1 and R-C1.
June 20/11 Report E2011-10, Examination of Secondary Suite Regulations in the Alberta Building and Fire Codes presented to Council.
June 20/11 LPT 2011-37, Secondary Suites Community Consultation – scoping of options came to Council
Apr 18/11 Ald. Demong introduced Notice of Motion 2011-10, Secondary Suites in Undeveloped R-1 Districts and it was passed as revised below;


WHEREAS the undeveloped R-1 areas in the Developing Area do not include secondary suites as a listed use;


AND WHEREAS it is appropriate to ensure there is an opportunity for secondary suites in single detached dwellings in all low density land use districts in new undeveloped communities in the Developing Area;


NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED the Administration be directed to

1.   On all land use redesignation applications received after the adoption of this notice of motion employ R-1s instead of R-1;

2.   Review all current applications proposing R-1, and where appropriate, require R-1s instead of R-1;

3.   Ensure the Municipal Development Plan reflects this direction; and

4.   Confirm that the difference between R-1 and R-1s shall not be used to calculate final density.

Mar 10/11 Secondary Suites #3 Update went out
June 20/11 Report E2011-10, Examination of Secondary Suite Regulations in the Alberta Building and Fire Codes presented to Council.
Mar 07/11 The Secondary Suites Report went before Council and there was a heated debate. Administration will report back to Council no later than December 2011. Council did approve textual amendments to Land Use Bylaw 1P2001 to provide for secondary suites,located within a principal dwelling, as permitted uses in land use districts where they are currently listed as discretionary, excluding the R-C1N and R-1N districts.
Mar 4/11 Secondary Suite Update #2 went out
Feb 17/11 Secondary Suite Report presented to the SPC on LTP. The committee had no recommendation and the issue moves to Council on March 7th, 2011
Feb 15/11 Secondary Suite Update #1 went out
Oct 18/10 New City Council elected.
Jun 7/10 Council approved ‘Secondary Suite Policy’ which directed Administration to “prepare a scope, budget and work plan for consideration by the 2011 January SPC on Land Use Planning and Transportation for a developed neighbourhoods (excluding R-C1and R-1 designated neighbourhoods).
May 17/10 Council approved the continuation of the Secondary Suites Grant Program and public education and consultation.
Oct 02/08 Council approved Secondary Suites Grant Pilot Program, which approved the implementation of the Secondary Suites Grant Pilot Program for the upgrading of up to 50 existing Secondary Suites and the creation of new legal Secondary Suites and which approved the revised terms of reference for the Public Consultation and Education on Legal Secondary Suites Program.