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Developer says he’s getting hosed by red tape

An Alder Street development, criticized by several area residents, is being held up by red tape at city hall.

The developer of a proposed triplex at 741 Alder Street said city bureaucrats are forcing him to install an expensive sprinkler system before they will issue a building permit.

“We were informed by the building department that a fire suppression sprinkler system is required for residential buildings over two units,” David Welychko wrote in a letter to city council. “This bylaw therefore adds an additional $20,000-$25,000 expense that had not been factored in to the cost of building a triplex. This cost is impossible to recover for a building of that size.”

Welychko said city staff in the building department agree that the requirement goes above and beyond what is required by the B.C. Building Code but it is up to council to remove the sprinkler bylaw requirement.

Welychko, who owns a small restoration company in Campbell River, said cost is not the only factor in his decision to not install the fire suppression sprinkler system, but also the damage sprinklers can cause.

“My experience in the water and fire restoration field is that the failure of sprinkler systems sometimes runs into hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance claims,” Welychko said. “These claims were all caused by sprinkler system failures or damage, rather than by fires.

“Reducing the sprinkler requirements to the equivalent of the B.C. Building Code would encourage denser property development, which the city of Campbell River has been promoting.

“Yet, this roadblock makes it economically impossible to fill.”

Welychko was granted a re-zoning on his Alder property in late July to accommodate construction of the triplex near Alder and 7th Avenue.

The triplex is expected to have three, 1,300 square foot three-bedroom units with each unit on its own floor.

Council granted the re-zoning and a development permit despite objections from the neighbours during a public hearing July 9 at city hall.

Some were concerned their views would be obstructed by the new building while others were concerned about a potential loss of privacy and an increase in traffic.

Welychko was expected to make a presentation to council, requesting the sprinkler requirement be scratched, at Tuesday’s council meeting after the Mirror went to press.

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