By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – A final decision on whether or not shipping containers will be allowed on county properties was put on hold until a later meeting after a procedural snare prevented council from making a simple amendment to the bylaw and moving on with second and third reading.
Although the proposed bylaw has been before council on two previous occasions for tweaking, council realized Tuesday morning a second and third reading of the bylaw in its present form would affect those living in the County’s hamlets, a situation none were prepared to accept.
Administration explained once the bylaw was in place it would be on a complaint basis and a resident with a shipping container on their hamlet land could be ordered to remove it even if it predated the bylaw.
Councillor Don McGeachy questioned whether grandfathering existing shipping containers could not be considered in the matter. “It just pits neighbour against neighbour in a residential area,” the councillor said of the complaint-driven process. “They have no recourse. If it’s been there 10 years or 20, it gets uprooted.”
Councillor David Kluthe, a strong advocate of resident property rights and fewer regulations on those rights, said he would not support the motion in its present form as he was of the understanding the proposed bylaw only applied to multi-lot subdivisions.
Councillor Shaw, who originally moved second reading of the bylaw Tuesday morning, withdrew her motion, recommending the bylaw go back for revisions to permit shipping containers in Hamlet Residential areas.
Although administration informed council they could order the amendment of the document to permit shipping containers in Hamlet Residential, a procedural ball had already set in motion requiring the withdrawal-and-revise motion to go ahead with no opportunity to revise the bylaw to suit council’s wishes Tuesday morning.
Under its existing form, shipping containers would be permitted in Agricultural (AG), Agricultural Heartland (AG-H), Agricultural – Calahoo/Villeneuve (A-CVA), Agricultural-No Gravel Extraction (A-NGE), Agricultural – Nature Conservation (A-NC), Agricultural – Nature Conservation Heartland (A-NC-H), Gravel Extraction (GE), Intermunicipal Fringe – A (IMF-A), Intermunicipal Fringe B (IMF-B) without need of a building permit.
In its current form, the bylaw prohibits shipping containers on Country Residential – Two (CR-2), Country Residential – Estate (CR-E), or Hamlet Residential (HR) districts and County Residential – One (CR-1) properties less than one acre in size.
The consensus of Tuesday morning’s council discussion would move to afford hamlet residents the same consideration as CR-1 residents.
The bylaw, originally brought forth in April, was deferred over the summer when it was brought to the July 12 meeting for second and third reading.
A revised bylaw could come back to the table for second and third reading as early as Council’s next regular meeting set for Sept. 27.