Sea can plan deferred

Council’s shipping container regulation bylaw postponed over business owners’ concerns.

A bylaw that would regulate shipping containers saw some adamant opposition Monday night as it stood before council for third reading.

Business owners unhappy with the way the bylaw is laid out and worried that it will affect their business model persuaded council to postpone third reading and adoption until June 10. Mayor Wayne Stetski hoped that would be enough time for the concerned business owners to speak with city administration about the concerns.

Kenny Bridge, from Bridge Interiors, said that after talking to the fire chief and deputy fire chief and reading the bylaw, he found that he wouldn’t be able to house a container on his property because of the required setbacks. He said that venting the container properly would cut down on any explosion hazards and would allow the containers to be placed closer to existing buildings.

“From what I see the city staff have kind of put the cart in front of the horse,” Bridge said.

Another issue was that, in the current bylaw, sea cans won’t be allowed on residential properties, Bridge said a container can look as good as any garden shed.

Later in the public input, Miles Chisholm from Freightliners of Cranbrook, a company that specializes in the containers, noted that most people think of the large industrial size of container, but in fact the containers come in all sorts of sizes. For instance a residential building could use a smaller eight-by-eight foot or eight-by-ten foot container.

“I think everyone has an image of an old rusted out box sitting on the side of some industrial park where they’re crushing cars,” he said. “That’s not the case.”

Chisholm’s company is an agent for Big Steel Blocks, a company which he said supplies quality containers that most of the time match the look of its surroundings. They deal with higher end sea cans, like the ones in the Lordco stockyard.

“They’re very clean and arguably look as good as most garages in town,” he said.

Chisholm also noted that the company has probably delivered 500 containers to residential addresses in Cranbrook in the past ten years. He said he is only aware of two complaints, though they were regarding lower-quality auction style containers. In the area, including commercial, he said he’d probably delivered 3,000 containers in that time.

“They come painted, they’re clean, they’re not rusty, they’re airtight,” he said. “To be honest, if I had a million dollar home in Southview, it wouldn’t bother me one bit if my neighbour had a nice eight-by-eight sea can sitting beside his boat.”

Coun. Denise Pallesen admitted that council had put the bylaw together with the common large shipping container in mind, and said maybe council needs to seek some more knowledge on the subject.

Other businesses, like KC gifts, said they would not be able to operate under the current proposed bylaw, since they have 30 sea cans on the property at a time.

Mayor Stetski made a motion to postpone third reading to June 10 and all members of council were in favour.