The potential for affordable living space in established neighbourhoods around the city is now possible, thanks to a decision by council to relax the restrictions on secondary suites.

A decision reached Monday by the majority of councillors will help eliminate the 10,000-plus suspected illegal secondary suites in the city, and take the city’s Cornerstone Plan, which aims to create 2,600 affordable units by 2010, one step further.

Now, basement suites will be allowed in most areas, as well as garden suites and garage suites.

The decision was not a unanimous one by council. Some councillors felt the decision to allow multiple renters on one property should be made by both homeowners and surrounding neighbours.

“I felt there should be a way to control the number of suites in an area or on a block,” said Ward 5 Coun. Bryan Anderson.

Anderson said the city received a large response from community leagues and individuals that agreed the decision should be discretionary.

“When a block is inundated with secondary suites and vehicles, it can create a new character for a neighbourhood that is not necessarily what the people who moved there in the first place are wanting,” he said.

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