Saanich releases initial results of garden suite study public engagement

June 27, 2018

Information bulletin
For immediate release 


Saanich, BC – The District of Saanich has released its first garden suite study public engagement summary report. Results from research to date have shown general community support for legalizing garden suites in single family areas of Saanich.  

A statistically significant survey conducted by R.A. Malatest & Associates Ltd. is currently underway. The purpose of this survey is to validate the responses received in the first community survey. 

The public engagement report summarizes the results of substantial public engagement that was undertaken earlier this spring, including a community survey, open houses and pop-up events. The report provides a summary of the feedback received on a variety of aspects of the potential regulations for garden suites including building size and height, location, parking and design. Enforcement and the approval process for garden suites was also discussed. 

Feedback received 

More than 1,000 people completed the community survey and more than 300 people attended two open houses. Highlights of the first phase of public engagement included: 

  • General support for legalizing garden suites in all single family zones;
  • Identification of priority issues for regulation including the  provision of parking on-site, privacy, building size, owner oversight, and location of the garden suite on the property;
  • Support for design guidelines;
  • Support for an owner living on site; and
  • A lack of strong support to the idea of allowing garden suites to be used as short-term rentals. 
Saanich looking for follow-up input 

Saanich will continue to gather detailed input through a second community survey, which is now available at The second survey will build on the feedback received through the first community survey and other public engagement events, and will provide direction for development of potential regulations for garden suites in Saanich. 

Based on all feedback received, a draft regulatory framework will be presented in fall 2018 for public review and feedback. A final recommendation is anticipated to be presented for Council’s consideration in early 2019. 

What is a garden suite? 

A garden suite is a ground-oriented residential dwelling located in the backyard of a property with a single family house as its primary use. Garden suites contribute to the diversity of housing options and they add a supply of permanent rental housing at a time when housing shortages are known to exist. 

Garden suites are not currently permitted in Saanich. In September 2017 Saanich Council approved a study to examine opportunities to legalize garden suites as part of a broader approach to expand the range of housing options in the municipality. Saanich already allows secondary suites in most urban areas. 

Learn more 

Read the garden suite public engagement report and sign up for updates at



Media contacts:

Cameron Scott, Manager of Community Planning

Megan Catalano, Communications Manager
250-475-5494 ext. 3444