Ainsley Kerr, a director with the University of Victoria Students’ Society here seen in September 2018, calls on Saanich to change some of its bylaw to help with students find affordable housing. (Black Press File)

UVic student society calls for Saanich bylaw changes

Demand comes after District evicts UVic students

A student leader encourages Saanich to loosen certain bylaws after another student had raised concerns about a “discriminatory” bylaw.

Ainsley Kerr, director of campaigns and community relations for the University of Victoria Students’ Society, said bylaws like limiting the number of unrelated occupants “are dismissive” of the fact that sharing living space with unrelated occupants has always been a stage in the lives of students or young persons.

“It’s easy to generalize low-income renters as ‘students’ and forget that sharing housing is a normal, pro-social behaviour that allows young people to participate in our larger communities,” she said.

She made these comments after Emma Edmonds, a third-year-student at UVic, questioned Saanich’s bylaw enforcement.

RELATED: Evicted UVic student questions Saanich’s housing bylaw

Edmonds told council during Saanich’s open forum Jan. 21 that the municipality is evicting her and six other UVic students under Section 5. 20 of Saanich’s zoning bylaw, from their residence in the 1800 block of Teakwood Place near the intersection of McKenzie Avenue and Gordon Head Road.

The bylaw section states the number of “persons unrelated by blood or marriage” in a dwelling “including boarders shall not exceed four.”

“[Section 5.20] is discriminatory towards students and needs to be amended,” said Edmonds.

Kerr broadly agreed with this argument.

RELATED: Students struggling with Greater Victoria’s tight housing market

RELATED: UVic getting two new buildings for student housing

“While it’s important to protect the rights of landlords and maintain the rental market, in cases like this, loosening certain bylaws could prevent tenant and landlords from being unnecessarily pitted against each other without putting landlords at risk,” said Kerr.

She said she is not aware of any recent discussions between the student society and the municipality around this issue.

“With that said, the municipality of Saanich has shown an interest in student issues and worked with the UVSS this year to put polling stations on campus for the municipal election,” she said. “We would love to continue working with the Saanich mayor and council and start conversations about housing bylaws in the municipality, especially those affecting the student community.”

Coun. Ned Taylor said he appreciated Edmonds’ appearance before council.

“It’s an extremely unfortunate situation, and the reality is that when students are evicted due to an illegal rental situation, they’re simply going to have to find an illegal rental situation somewhere else because there’s nothing else available,” he said. “This is yet another reminder of just how hard we need to work to address our affordable housing crisis,” he said.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Double lung transplant gives West Shore man second chance

Co-owner of West Shore Barber Shop grateful for every minute of the 16 years transplant has provided

Hallmark movie filming in Oak Bay

Shooting for ‘Sunshine’ continues into June across Greater Victoria

City says traffic pattern on Bay Street Bridge will stay as is until October

Commuters began facing long waits on Tuesday morning after the east-bound lane was closed

Home where Proctor murder took place removed from Langford’s Affordable Housing Program

Langford woman almost purchased home, decided against it after hearing history

PHOTOS: Victoria youth continue to gather for climate action

Local students participated in a global movement calling for climate action

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve investigating after sea lion found shot in the head

Animal is believed to have been killed somewhere between Ucluelet and Tofino

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

B.C. port workers set to strike on Monday in Vancouver

A strike at two container terminals would affect Canadian trade to Asia

Volunteers already rescuing fry from drying creekbeds around Cowichan Lake

It’s early but already salmon fry are being left high and dry

So, they found ‘Dave from Vancouver Island’

Dave Tryon, now 72 and living in North Delta, will reunite with long-ago travelling friends in Monterrey, Calif.

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

Most Read