Two commercially zoned buildings have been evacuated after renters were discovered living in those units, which have a number of fire and building code issues, according to the city.
The issue was raised by Councillor Wes Graham during last week’s council meeting. One building, on 11th Ave, had previously been evacuated three years ago for the same reasons.
Dez Desjardins, the Director of Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services, said the city recently learned that people were living in the building again. Desjardins sought an evacuation order from the B.C. Fire Commissioner’s Office, which he said was ‘reluctant’ to issue the directive, preferring municipalities to exhaust local bylaw options first.
However, Desjardins said he was able to work with building owner to initiate a voluntary eviction of the occupants over the weekend.
Two residents were evacuated out of one building, while between two to five residents were evacuated out of the other, Desjardins added.
“He [building owner] certainly could go down the avenue of converting those spaces into residential occupancies, especially with the shortage of residences that are available in Cranbrook but currently, they don’t meet the code requirements,” Desjardins said.