Castor council debates pros, cons of seacans

Councillors instruct CAO to look at storage cans in other places

Castor town council decided at their Feb. 24 regular meeting to examine how other communities handle sea cans in residential areas after a local resident asked the town to approve them for storage use.

Councillors read a letter from resident Lorne Dewart, who stated sea cans, large, metal storage units nowadays popular with landowners, have more benefits than drawbacks.

“I would like to ask Castor town council to consider amending the Land Use Bylaw to allow for the discretionary use of Storage Structures in Residential Areas specifically Sea Cans,” stated Dewart’s letter.

“Sea cans can provide landowners cost effective, excellent storage for a wide variety of items from the storage of vehicles and parts, woodworking materials, motorbikes and ATVs; almost anything because they provide a fire safe, weatherproof, rodent-free dry storage.

They are a great place to store items that would otherwise be deemed unsightly.

“They are safe and secure which is also a major benefit given the increased break and enter thefts in our area.

“Sea cans can also be altered to blend into their surroundings by painting to match existing buildings, use of fencing or screens can also be used so as to make them more aesthetically pleasing.”

Dewart pointed out he isn’t the only Castor resident with a sea can in his yard.

“Currently to my knowledge there are four to six sea cans located in residential areas of Castor already. By allowing discretionary use council can ensure that all cans are meeting a Sea Can standard, placed appropriately on the property and have an approved Development Permit in place for them.”

Dewart was correct when he wrote sea cans are forbidden in residential areas of Castor; councillors mentioned this point several times at the meeting.

Dewart also asked council to hold off on enforcement while they considered his request.

Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Robblee noted sea cans are not allowed in residential neighbourhoods but are allowed in residential estates. They’re also permitted in zones such as industrial.

Councillors unanimously agreed.

Coun. Lonny Nelner pointed out sea cans have some special issues associated with them, such as they meet no building codes and, since they’re made of metal, they can seriously inhibit emergency personnel in the event of a fire.

Coun. Tony Nichols said he sympathized with Dewart. “I don’t see where they’re much of an eyesore,” said Nichols. He said there are some garages around Castor that look worse than a sea can.

“I think we should change the bylaw,” said Nichols.

Coun. Brenda Wismer disagreed, noting she felt sea cans look “unsightly.”

Coun. Nelner said he agreed withDewart’s statement the sea cans can be painted to blend in with the neighbourhood and guidelines would be needed.

Coun. Rod Zinger said sea cans seem to have a lot of problems associated with them, including the ability to stack them on top of each other.

Mayor Richard Elhard agreed with Nichols, noting sea cans have been in town for a long time.

Coun. Kevin McDougall suggested tabling the issue until Robblee has time to investigate other jurisdiction’s handling of sea cans.

 

Stu Salkeld

Local Journalism Initiative reporter

ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.

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