Thursday, August 16, 2018

Sea cans used as sheds under discussion at town council

Toni Lucas - Council for the Town of Pincher Creek passed the first reading of land use bylaw amendment 1547-AF on Monday, July 23. This bylaw pertains to add standards of development which include allowing a shipping container such as a sea can be part of the accessory building for discretionary use in R1 areas within Pincher Creek. One consideration is the exterior finish is to match the design, character and appearance of the primary building. Council also passed there will be a public hearing on this bylaw amendment Monday, August 27, at 6 pm in council chambers.

Oldman River Regional Services Commission Senior Planner Mike Burla talked about shipping containers. He explained sea cans are being shipped to North America from around the world. Canada does not have as much product to ship back. It is cheaper for many areas to make a new shipping container than to ship it back empty. "Those things end up being orphaned, or abandoned, or stockpiled here in different locations." He spoke of them being used as homes, shops, industrial and storage. "Obviously, there can be a lot of love for these things, and there can be a lot of hate for these things." He said the location, size, appearance, and duration of use will have to be something council should take into consideration.

Councillor Scott Korbett talked about esthetics and sea-cans. "When we allow these things into R1, the gloves are off as to what people think 'matches their house'." He admitted he has used them in the past himself for storage and they are useful. "We will be continually be pushed on this, as they are extremely handy to get a hold of, easy to get a hold of a shipping container. In R1 (single family residential zones), they are not suited."

Councillor Sussanne O'Rourke asked if they are used in Banff or Jasper. Korbett answered. "We have been talking about sea can system for intermodal housing, that's different, that's totally different. This is an accessory building to a property. This is a garage or a shed." He explained that if it was used for housing in the area, "It would have windows in it, it would have doors on it. It's not going to look like a shipping container."

O'Rourke talked about prefab additions to homes in Calgary. Mayor Don Anderberg asked Burla if one of these sea cans have been made to modern code would council still have to amend the bylaw.

Burla said that insulation, wiring, plumbing and ventilation are difficult in sea cans as you are starting off with a steel structure. Burla said there are containers which have been built in Canada for the purpose of housing. "They look good."

Mayor Anderberg said, "If we want to allow that type of development in town here, then we have to amend this land use bylaw." Burla suggested more investigation and research by the administration.

Councillor Brian McGillvary said there are two concerns to examine; aesthetics, and structural usage. He also discussed on the usage of a proposed sea can complex in Banff. "Aesthetically, you can't tell they are sea cans. They are very, very attractive."

CAO Laurie Wilgosh said that the current bylaw under discussion is specifically for accessory structural components, such as sheds or garages, not for residential dwellings.

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