Sea can approved in hamlet, reeve cites aesthetic concerns

An applicant asked Stettler County’s MPC to allow a sea can on this property in the Hamlet of Botha. ECA Review/Submitted
Written by Stu Salkeld

An applicant asked Stettler County’s MPC to allow a sea can on this property in the Hamlet of Botha. ECA Review/Submitted

Stettler County’s Municipal Planning Commission (MPC) approved the placement of a sea can storage unit inside a hamlet, although the reeve voiced aesthetic concerns. The decision was made at the regular MPC meeting June 22.

The Stettler County MPC is comprised of members of county council and chaired by Coun. James Nibourg.

Development Officer Jacinta Donovan presented an application from Robert de Vries to place a storage unit at Lot 11 Block 4 Plan 8385T 4914 – 49 Street in the Hamlet of Botha.

“The applicant is proposing to place an 8’ x 20’ sea can on Lot 11 Block 4 Plan 8385T within the Hamlet of Botha,” stated Donovan’s report, who pointed out the 8 x 20 size is correct and takes precedence over the 8 x 12 and 8 x 40 both mentioned in the meeting agenda.

Donovan stated a sea can, also sometimes referred to as a CCAN or intermodel freight container, is a discretionary use in the Stettler County land use bylaw (LUB), which means the MPC has sole discretion to approve a temporary development permit.

She further explained “temporary” means the permit is valid for up to five years and then requires re-application.

Coun. Justin Stevens asked for clarification on the development permit’s term, and Donovan answered the applicant didn’t specifically state how long the sea can will be expected to stay on the property and she assumed it’s permanent.

Chair Nibourg clarified if the MPC approves this application it will be valid for five years and the applicant will be expected to re-apply.

Reeve Larry Clarke asked if neighbouring property owners had a chance to comment on this proposal and Donovan explained if the MPC approves this application it’s then subject to a 21 day appeal which also includes the neighbours.

Coun. Ernie Gendre asked if tin garden sheds and similar buildings are handled the same way sea cans are. Donovan stated tin garden sheds are approved uses in hamlet zoning so they don’t require a separate development permit in the way a sea can does.

Reeve Clarke asked if there was any information about the condition and appearance of the sea can in question; Clarke stated some sea cans are painted a variety of colours and have large writing on them.

“They can look pretty rough,” said Clarke, who added that if the sea can is going to be there for five years it should blend into the neighbourhood.

Donovan responded an additional condition could be placed on the development permit that requires the sea can be painted.

Nibourg noted that aesthetic requirements can sometimes be subjective but that if the sea can becomes controversial the issue can always come back to the MPC.

Sea cans have sometimes faced opposition over their industrial appearance and for some safety issues including possibly acting as an obstacle to firefighters.

Councillors eventually voted by a 5 to 2 margin, with Stevens and Coun. Dave Grover opposed, to approve the development permit application for the de Vries sea can with the added requirement that it meet county aesthetic requirements as determined by the development officer.

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.