Abbotsford councillor Kelly Chahal

Stop using the term ‘monster house,’ Abbotsford councillor urges

Term carries negative connotations, but used mostly for big houses with South Asian occupants

An Abbotsford councillor is urging the public to stop calling very large houses “monster” homes.

Coun. Kelly Chahal says the term, which is often used in relation to large houses built for multiple generations of the same family, has become “racialized” and associated specifically with big homes occupied by South Asian families.

Chahal spoke about the word at a recent council meeting, after a long public hearing about rules to govern the sizes of new homes built in Central Abbotsford.

RELATED: Abbotsford puts squeeze on new homes in established neighbourhoods

She elaborated on her thoughts in a brief interview later in the week.

“I think most people don’t mean to at all use the term in a negative way,” she said, noting that it can be used as a synonym for “gigantic.”

But the word “monster” can still rankle.

“I particularly don’t appreciate that term and I hope people could be respectful and understand that these homes are built to house families,” she had said at the meeting.

Before Chahal spoke, two people had alluded to the need to separate feelings about large homes that may be unpopular with neighbours with their occupants.

One elderly woman told council she disliked a “monster house” built behind her home, but said the people who moved in “are fantastic.”

A few minutes later, Raj Dhaliwal, a local realtor, thanked people for acknowledging “there are no monster people in monster homes.”

Chahal’s call was echoed by Coun. Bruce Banman, who suggested people “find another way ” of describing such houses.

Chahal had a simple answer later in the week for what a very large house should be called: a very large house.


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tolsen@abbynews.com

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