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

Victoria woman experiencing homelessness wants systematic changes as she faces losing her truck

Willi Boepple fears losing one of her last possessions after being inundated with parking tickets

WATCH: Marine security company posts live seal cam at Oak Bay Marina

Seals tend to loiter near the fish-cleaning table

UPDATED: Two-sailing wait at BC Ferries Swartz Bay terminal

Passengers destined for Tsawwassen without a reservation should allow for extra time at terminal

Bacteria counts lead Island Health to warn swimmers off Elk/Beaver Lake beach

As a precautionary measure it is not recommended for people or pets to enter the water

Tour de Victoria: The downlow on detours in the region

Thousands of cyclists participating in ninth Tour de Victoria

WATCH: Family dog missing after fire tears through Metchosin home

Firefighters continue to monitor for hot spots

Victoria Shamrocks open WLA finals at Q Centre in Colwood

Team is evenly matched in championship series against Maple Ridge Burrards

‘Easy Rider’ star Peter Fonda dies at 79

Actor and writer was nominated for an Oscar for co-writing the 1969 psychedelic road trip movie

Excavators help cute kid who copied their dig with his toys stay “safe at work”

Carson Carnegie wakes up at 7:00 am every morning to watch construction work on his street

Bob Lenarduzzi out as Vancouver Whitecaps president

MLS team is at the bottom of the Western Conference standings

B.C. daycare operator denies negligence in death of ‘Baby Mac’

Infant died in early 2017 after biting an electrical cord, according to a lawsuit filed by his mom

BC SPCA reopens animal cruelty investigation at Abbotsford pig farm

Additional alleged footage released from Excelsior Hog Farm sparks new investigation

RCMP on Vancouver Island seek information on alleged ‘breaking out’ bandit

Man alleged to have hid in Nanaimo business washroom ceiling overnight, took monitors

POLL: What is the main thing you would like to see improved on BC Ferries?

BC Ferries passengers are sounding off on what they would like to… Continue reading

Most Read