City hall spends $1,500 on advertising every secondary suite application

That’s a lot.

The city spends about $5,000 on every single secondary suite application, city administration revealed on Wednesday—including $1,500 for signage and newspaper advertising.

It all adds up to about $750,000 per year.

“I am shocked by that $1,500 advertising number,” said Mayor Naheed Nenshi. “I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m saying, ‘Oh my gosh, the city needs to renegotiate that.’”

City GM Stuart Dalgleish said for legal reasons, the city has to advertise in two major publications in town, but they’re looking at moving to an online format. [Ed. note: The Sprawl can be reached at its city hall bureau at 403–268–1984.]

Here is the cost breakdown on per-suite city application costs, delivered by Dalgleish:

$3,000 on administration
$1,500 on advertising
$500 on the public hearing process

“It’s not a small amount when we’re looking at all the deficits and what we’re trying to create and how we’re trying to cut,” said councillor Shane Keating. “This is also adding to it.”

Keating asked if this number would go down if secondary suites were a discretionary use rather than having to go before city council for approval.

Short answer: yup.

“If this went to within administration, you’d basically have a process that would lead you to an administration decision as oppose to an administration recommendation,” said Dalgleish.

“And the process would stop at the decision, whereas right now you have a recommendation which then proceeds through the Calgary Planning Commission which then proceeds through council.”

“Logic would say: because you’re stopping the process earlier, you’d wind up with a reduction.”


“Maybe there has to be a rethink,” said Keating.

“In the near future, I hope,” said Nenshi.

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