By Stephen Dafoe
Sturgeon County – Five months after it started, Sturgeon County Council finally passed a bylaw that will allow the use of shipping containers in some areas and prohibit them in others. Council voted 6-1 in favour of third reading of the bylaw Oct. 10 with Councillor David Kluthe casting the opposing vote.
Kluthe had long opposed the bylaw, not only on the basis of regulating where shipping containers could or could not be located, but in levying a fee to County residents for having them on their properties.
“My problem is more fees. They don’t want any more fees in the County,” Kluthe said. “It’s a good idea telling them where to put them so they’re not an eyesore, but they don’t want any more fees.”
Administration clarified to the councillor the $90 charge is not a fee for having a shipping container on their property but is the charge for a permit for land use, something that requires staff to investigate and do paperwork. “It does take administration’s time to look at these things,” said Collin Steffes, Sturgeon County’s manager of planning and development. “There are costs associated with it.”
Under the newly-passed bylaw, shipping containers will be prohibited on all Country Residential 2 (CR2) and Country Residential Estate (CRE) properties. Country Residential 1 (CR1) properties would be permitted to have shipping containers provided the land is 1 acre or greater in size. Hamlets in Sturgeon County are also permitted to have shipping containers, an amendment brought to the table prior to second reading.
Council gave second reading to the bylaw Sept. 27 and directed administration to go back to the well to come up with conditions to allow shipping containers for construction purposes and to investigate options to deal with situations where shipping containers already exist.
Containers for construction purposes will be allowed for a period of 18 months. Council had previously expressed concern with examples of containers being used on construction lots for periods in excess of three years.
Additionally, properties where shipping containers are now a permitted use will be grandfathered with no permit required; however, those wishing to add a shipping container to a property would be required to obtain the permit if they are in the CR1 designation.
Exempt from permit requirement are lands deemed 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), Urban Fringe (UF), Hamlet Commercial (HC), Hamlet Residential (HR), Business Industrial (B-I), Industrial Heavy (I-H), Highway Commercial (HWYC), Airport (AP), Industrial Rural (I-R) District, and Industrial Service Centre – Heartland (ISC-H) district.