The use of steel shipping containers has grown dramatically in recent years, but they can be a hazard that Creston town council is trying to identify and eliminate.
“It doesn’t really have to do with what they look like,” town planner Jamai Schile told Coun. Kevin Boehmer at Tuesday’s regular council meeting. “There have actually been two incidents where an explosion occurred and endangered people.”
Both incidents, she said, happened when fires on nearby structures heated the containers, which are typically used for storage. In one, a Creston Fire Rescue member narrowly escaped injury when a container door blew off, the result of heat and flammable contents.
Schile was making a presentation to council about proposed amendments to town zoning bylaw No. 1808. The amendment discussed at the meeting (and given first and second readings, paving the way for a public notice process) would include “intermodal shipping containers” in the “accessory building” category, excluding them from residential zones except for use as temporary storage for construction projects.
For all other zones, the structures would be required to have adequate ventilation. That requirement will also require a building code amendment.
“For the most part this will involve educating the public,” Schile said.
Many people who have been attracted to the units by their price and portability are unaware of the hazards that unventilated steel structures can cause, she said. Information has already been posted on the Creston Fire Rescue website.
A public hearing will be held before the amendment can be passed into law.
•Council authorized an application to the New Building Canada Fund for the Shikurski pump house project, which is designed to strengthen the town’s water delivery infrastructure.
•A $50,000 pre-budget expenditure was approved to purchase decorative street lighting for the realignment of the Railway Avenue-Pine Street intersection that will take place this spring. Streetlights will match those in the downtown core.
•Intern Helene Miles gave council an overview of upcoming changes to the creston.ca web site, which is being revamped to make it more useful and user friendly.
•Discussion about a new Town of Creston float for the Creston Valley Blossom Festival’s 75th anniversary in 2016 were referred to budget discussions.
•A $500 discretionary grant was approved to assist with expenses in hosting the BC School Sports curling provincial championships in Creston from Feb. 19-21.
•A request from resident Michael Bunn to create a bylaw to override the province’s mobile home park pad rental rates regulations was discussed. Bunn will be informed that the town cannot void provincial legislation.