Mayor offers to help move wall

Thursday, January 18, 2007
The Prince Albert Daily Herald is reporting that at Monday evenings city council meeting, Mayor Jim Scarrow offered the services of himself and perhaps the whole council to help a young home owner who has found herself in a difficult situation.
Mayor Jim Scarrow suggested council perform some construction work for a young homeowner whose property is in violation of the National Building Code. "I'm looking for a good teambuilding exercise and I think council could come down and help you move your wall and your shed," Scarrow said.

Charlene Berard, 19, was a little shocked when Scarrow made the offer. "It's very generous, though," she said.

Berard wasn't the only one surprised by the mayor's offer. Ward 4 Councillor Shawn Williams worries Scarrow's offer sets an unwise precedent. He said Berard's isn't the only property violating national codes and council can't go fixing all of them.

While performing another inspection in the same neighbourhood, Peter Halayka, Prince Albert fire and building inspector, noticed Berard's shed and carport wall violates both the National Building Code and the city's zoning bylaw.

Development co-ordinator Kim Johnson sent a letter to Berard telling her to move the wall and shed by Dec. 30, 2006. Johnson informed Berard her carport's west wall and backyard shed are both too close to the property line. Given winter weather, the compliance to the order was delayed until May 30.

Berard appealed the order to council on Monday. She said the carport and shed were built years before she purchased the house and moving those items would cost her thousands of dollars.

Ward 2 Councillor Greg Dionne told Berard the city's "hands are tied" by the national code. He said the four-foot barrier acts as a fire barrier and, if the structure started on fire, the city would be liable because it failed to enforce the code.


In the end, council upheld the order, but gave Berard until Aug. 31 to comply.
Berard intends to call the mayor on his labour offer when the weather warms up.

Councillors don't have to participate in Scarrow's work bee.

Now, I didn't vote for the guy, but I just like this a lot.

Nice work Mayor.

And check out the paper for the whole story.

1 comment

  1. Has your town council ever heard of an "existing non-conforming" building or structure. The National Building Code (N.B.C.) 1995, has no provisions to enforce new or current codes on structures that pre-date the code in effect. You can't enforce something like the above mentioned example unless there had been a permit pulled with the city with regards to a proposal to renovate part of the structure that is in non-compliance.

    "The National Building Code (NBC) - establishes a satisfactory standard of fire safety for the construction of new buildings, the reconstruction of buildings, including extensions, alterations, or changes in occupancy and upgrading of buildings to remove an unacceptable fire hazard." - National Building Code of Canada 1995.


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