Calgary Herald

Plebiscite on secondary suites considered

- RICHARD CUTHBERTSO­N

It’s been one of the most contentiou­s city issues in recent years, with municipal politician­s at loggerhead­s over whether to legalize secondary suites across residentia­l Calgary.

Now, council is contemplat­ing letting voters decide the whole issue in the next municipal election, and have requested city officials study the costs, legal implicatio­ns, and possible wording of a plebiscite.

“The issue is it sounds like my colleagues are too entrenched in their positions,” said Ald. John Mar, who proposed the city look at a plebiscite.

“New informatio­n based on the latest polls will not sway them from their positions. The best thing to do is let the people decide.”

Monday’s council decision to investigat­e the idea doesn’t necessaril­y mean there will be a plebiscite; it is just a report into the possibilit­y. A plebiscite would not be binding on council.

City manager Owen Tobert estimated holding a plebiscite in conjunctio­n with the election would cost around $1 million.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi argues the views of Calgarians are already well known, with surveys showing they broadly support the legalizati­on.

The report on a plebiscite will come in September.

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