Mission’s new secondary suites and water metering bylaws were presented to council at the Nov. 6 meeting to allow for final touches before a public hearing next month.
The suite registration window is slated to open in January and last through March.
Council approved seven recommendations from staff related to the secondary suites bylaw, in addition to one motion of their own and another that was reworked.
The recommendations green-lighted by council included a discounted registration fee that would provide a 50 per cent discount for those who register by Feb. 15, 25 per cent for those who register by April 1 and no discount after that.
Council also approved an exemption on utility fees that would be conditional on signing up for the water metering program. Exemptions impact user fees charged for each utility service.
Under the new secondary suite program, exemptions would now be granted if the suite is occupied by a family member or if the suite is not rented out, in addition to other conditions already in place.
Instead of a staff recommendation to gradually reduce the double utility exemption over five years, council resolved to have staff report back on the removal of double billing of utilities and averaging the cost across subscribers over four to seven years.
Council also unanimously voted for staff to report back on further incentives for non-suite owners to sign up for the water metering program.
Mission Mayor Paul Horn says there are unknowns with the secondary suites and water metering program and the city will need to make some adjustments based on what happens during the roll-out. The city will also lack data on suites in Mission until the program is implemented.
“There’s really not a lot of science we can bring because we don’t know what we don’t know. So is it safe to say then, that our best plan will change when we meet the enemy? In other words, we’re going to later on collect data that will inform what we’re doing here. Everything we’re doing is speculative,” Horn said.
The secondary suites and water metering bylaw will have a financial impact of $162,500 on the 2024 General Operating Fund. The funds include $81,500 for a bylaw officer (starting April 1) to address complaints, investigations, and education and $46,000 for a tax and utility clerk.
“Every home should be full — we don’t care whether they’re relatives, over 18, under 18, somebody’s paying you rent — the province is saying fill your homes, we need to do that as part of affordability,” Horn said.
The bylaws will receive a public hearing at the Dec. 4 council meeting.