Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Mission residents who have secondary suites on their properties will have to pay a fee, according to the city.

The City of Mission has created a new program requiring residents to register their secondary suites and pay a fee.

Its $100 if registered between now and Feb. 15, 2024, and $150 if registered between Feb. 16 and April 1, 2023. After that, the fee increases to $200.

Mission mayor Paul Horn said the new fee is to help “plan in the city” and to get an accurate count of unauthorized suites in the city.

“The program is essentially an amnesty to help people who have unauthorized suites get their suites officially registered with the city over the next three and a half months,” Horn told Global News. “We have countless unauthorized suites out there. We don’t know how many. And those suites haven’t had an easy way to come in and become officially recognized with the city.

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Horn said the fee will also help the city have a better idea of how many people live in certain neighbourhoods.

We don’t know how many people actually live in certain neighbourhoods — that has a real challenge for us in terms of busses and infrastructure and with the Board of Education when it comes to schools,” Horn said. “It also puts all those homeowners in a vulnerable position because unauthorized suites are really not secure. One complaint and suddenly that homeowner has a huge burden.”

Horn said the revenue from the fees will be used to deal with suites in the city.

Some Mission residents told Global News the new fee is “a cash grab.”

“When I first heard about it … I was like, ‘Oh another fee, another cash grab,’” Ralph Williams said. “There is an additional cost with extra suites, like garbage, recycling and water, but we already pay double. We already pay (for that) and now they’re going to charge $200.”

Williams said the new fee will only punish people with authorized suites as those with unauthorized suites will not come forward.

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“It’s unfair. There are so many suites, a lot more than they know about,” Williams said. “Those people fall through the cracks and it’s a loophole. We  are the ones paying the costs.”

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Another homeowner said he called the city to get more details about the program. He said if homeowners install a water metre they won’t have to pay the fee, however, that comes with a much heftier price tag.

“It just didn’t make economic sense,” Mark Johnson said. “It’s just not fair. You’re talking about $5,000 at a time when we’re all dealing with inflation. We’re dealing with increased mortgage rates.”

The city’s mayor said he thinks people will get more onboard with the program, once they fully understand it.

Once people understand the program, once we kind of explain it more clearly, the actual response I get is completely different,” he said. “Folks understand that this is something that will help them to have a permanent ID on their title, that they have an officially registered suite, they can sell it, they can advertise it and know that they are going to be okay.”

Those that have family living in secondary suites can apply to bypass the fee. Also, those with secondary suites that do not want to pay, can decommission the suites instead.

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The post ‘Cash grab’: New ‘secondary suite fees’ have some Mission, B.C. residents livid – BC | Globalnews.ca appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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