Council ponders ban of tarp sheds in residential area

Written by Stu Salkeld

Castor town council is pondering the banning of tarp sheds in residential neighbourhoods. The issue was discussed at the Sept. 26 regular meeting of council.

Town Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) Christopher Robblee presented councillors with proposed changes to the land use bylaw (LUB) and pointed out a proposed change that may be fairly prominent in Castor: tarp sheds would no longer be approved in the town’s residential neighbourhoods. Robblee noted this is an approach that’s common in other municipalities.

“From an aesthetic standpoint, they’re a detriment to an area,” said Robblee.

The CAO stated his research and the research done by Palliser Regional Municipal Services suggest the majority of municipalities don’t permit tarp or soft-shelled sheds in their residential neighbourhoods. However, the tarp sheds would be permitted in agriculture and industrial zones in Castor.

Councillors discussed the proposed change and noted such points as how residents would replace the tarp sheds. It was stated the standard shed size of 144 square feet would apply.

Robblee noted even if the change was approved by council, existing tarp sheds wouldn’t be affected; no new ones would be approved and existing ones, if removed, could not be replaced.

It was also stated wind and sun can affect such sheds, causing them to wear out and become tattered. The CAO stated a tattered tarp shed could get an unsightly premises warning.

Concerned resident
Councillors read a letter from a concerned resident, Mr. O’Neil, who made several suggestions about how the Town of Castor could encourage growth and development.

Robblee noted problems with virtually everything that O’Neil suggested, however. First he said O’Neil’s suggestion about lots on the south side couldn’t be adopted because all of those lots have Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) writs on them.

Also, apparently O’Neil’s suggestion to embrace RV parking in Castor can’t be adopted because Castor doesn’t permit RV parking.

O’Neil’s suggestion to consider condominium ownership also has problems stated Robblee. The CAO stated such an approach would require surveying of land and re-filing of land titles which could be done with town-owned land, but not necessarily private land.

Robblee also pointed out condos are a legal entity with certain laws applying to them and if the town turned something over to a condo group the town loses control over it.
Council agreed it was nice to hear feedback from an interested resident and to respond to Mr. O’Neil with a letter from Mayor Richard Elhard.

Utility update
Robblee reported on the town’s gas and water systems and noted the gas system is still at three per cent and doing well.

However, the water system is not doing so well: there is a water line break somewhere.

Robblee stated he hasn’t had staff open manholes and the leak hasn’t come to the surface yet.

He did point out though that the town’s water loss is the lowest it’s been since 2010.

Library board rules
Councillors passed a resolution appointing existing library board members after being instructed to do so by the Department of Municipal Affairs.

Robblee stated the names and terms of board members had to be entered into the minutes or the library board’s funding could be in jeopardy.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

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.