Amid the current housing crisis, the Town of Strathmore is exploring a potential new housing option: garden suites.

Garden suites, which can also be called laneway houses or backyard suites, are a secondary dwelling unit on a property that already has a primary unit. This could be things like detached garages becoming living spaces

A recent community survey with 257 respondents showed that 64% of Strathmore residents would be in favor of garden suites in their community, while only 10% were against it.

surveyResults from the survey. Courtesy Town of Strathmore

For those in favor, many of the responses revolved around convenience, creating affordable housing, and helping homeowners earn some extra cash.

"This is the first I have heard of them, but think it’s a wonderful idea for more housing options. The rental crisis is a huge barrier to many, and I think this could solve some of those problems specifically for those looking for affordable housing," one respondent said.

"I would love to see them as this is a fantastic way to extend elderly parents living at home!" said another.

However, those opposed worry these suites will only bring more problems.

"I feel like it could cause additional issues with crowding and available parking due to increased persons in a given area designed for less," said another respondent.

As for Town Council, Councillor Brent Wiley also supports the idea.

"The comments are very positive, so I'm really excited about this. I'm hoping there's going to be less red tape around it, I think it's a really good opportunity to just allow developers and individuals and families to fix some of the housing crisis we have in our town," he said.

There is currently no timeline for a proposed bylaw to be presented to council, but it's expected that people will be able to start building garden suites in 12 months or less. The current proposal has a size restriction of a maximum of 90 square meters, although this could be changed after Councillor Jason Montgomery and Councillor Wiley expressed concerns that limiting size could create some issues.

With the Town Council and community members in support of garden suites, we could be seeing a new type of housing pop up in Strathmore in the coming years.



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