A possibility of more housing in Smithers could be on its way after Smithers Town Council has approved of secondary suites in semi-detached homes with lane way access.

The new amendment will remove the previous rule that a single family dwelling must be either 90 square metres or 40% of the total floor area in a single family dwelling.

According to Town staff, the new bylaw will also improve the health and safety level for new and existing secondary suites.

Smithers Deputy Mayor Gladys Atrill said the new bylaw will help allow more housing in the community.

“We’ve heard for a long long time in this community and we’re not alone that there is a need for more housing stocks, so now people would be able to increase housing stock in assistant buildings,” she said.

In documents presented to council by town staff the new bylaw will allow for staff to provide a consistent and a transparent approach to the legalization and enforcement of non-compliant secondary suites.

Additional changes that have been made to the bylaw is the utility fees.

Town Staff have recommended to Council that owners will no longer have to pay an additional 40 % of residential rates for water and sewer but a flat rate instead.

Atrill says the recommendation will be returning the council.

“That piece will come back to council because it’s linked to the fees and charges bylaw so, it’s a recommendation but it will require a separate decision making process,” she said.

At the Feb 25 council meeting Council gave a first reading of the bylaw and staff were advised to amend the bylaw.