Second Almaguin community to consider restricting sea containers

·2 min read

For the second time this month, a municipality in Almaguin is taking steps to regulate sea containers. South River council intends to introduce a bylaw as early as its May 10 meeting restricting where the containers can be located in the community. Clerk administrator Don McArthur will bring the proposed bylaw forward after asking council if it wants them restricted from residential areas. Council members said that was their wish. Earlier this month, Sundridge council agreed to entertain a future resolution on how it handles the steel containers in the community. In South River, McArthur says the containers are treated as sheds and also said they require a building permit once they go beyond a certain size. Deputy mayor Doug Sewell said the size limit is 108 square feet, so anything larger needs a building permit. Sewell said the containers also need to rest on an appropriate foundation and told council that, in his opinion, they are ugly. McArthur says at the moment the municipality doesn't have any language stating where or how sea containers are used. He said the issue of regulating them has been raised in the past. During the discussion, McArthur said the municipality has a “fairly strong commercial and industrial base that uses (the containers). “The containers are part of their commercial establishment,” he said. “I don't think the intent necessarily is to take them away from the commercial and industrial areas where they're being used for storage.” Coun. Brenda Scott asked if the containers could be clad in something, but McArthur pointed out that council then has to decide what type of cladding is considered appropriate and what isn't. McArthur said regarding containers in residential areas, it would be easier just to say no to them, and “that way it's much easier from an enforcement standpoint”. At one point the discussion centred on people using the containers in the first place because they're cheaper but Sewell and McArthur dispelled that perception. Sewell says he knows an individual in Powassan who spent a considerable amount of money on a container. They can easily cost $4,000. And McArthur says according to the building inspector, once the use of a container is altered, like using it for support, the owner needs an engineering report that confirms the structural integrity of the unit hasn't been compromised. McArthur added once you factor in the cost of an engineer's report plus the potential cost of cladding material, suddenly the container is no longer a cheap item. McArthur will look into how other municipalities deal with sea containers in their communities and bring back a proposed bylaw to council. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget