The director for Area D wants to strike down a proposed bylaw to restrict the use of shipping containers which

Area D to nix shipping container ban

The director for electoral Area D wants to scrap proposed restrictions on shipping containers in her area after a similar crackdown proposed for Quadra Island caused a public backlash.

Area D Director Brenda Leigh served notice at the Nov. 26 Strathcona Regional District meeting that at the board’s first meeting in January she will be rescinding the bylaw that proposes to prohibit shipping containers on residential property.

But at the board’s Dec. 10 meeting, Leigh tried to speed up the process and rescind the bylaw at that meeting instead.

Director Charlie Cornfield said because Leigh stated the notice of motion was for January, that the bylaw should not be reconsidered before then.

“The purpose of notice of motion is to give directors time to consider it and I haven’t seen it,” Cornfield said.

That didn’t sit well with Leigh who said she didn’t want to waste the board’s – and staff’s – time.

“It’s not exactly a controversial motion,” said Leigh. “It went to a public hearing on Quadra and was severely rejected over there so all I’m doing by bringing it forward is to indicate to staff that they no longer have to keep working on it.”

A proposed bylaw on Quadra, that would have banned shipping containers on all property other than industrial sites, was recently scrapped by Quadra Director Jim Abram after 25 people spoke out against the proposal.

Most defended the use of shipping containers as affordable housing alternatives and storage options, and many admitted to using storage containers as an affordable dry storage option.

Tania McMartin of Quadra said other communities are actively allowing the use of shipping containers to improve their cities.

“Progressive cities are permitting homes and storage to be built from these materials and the fact that a ban on Quadra Island is being considered is ludicrous,” McMartin wrote in an email to the regional district.

“In an area where affordable housing is at an extreme shortage, banning shipping containers is asinine, even Campbell River uses a shipping container for a temporary homeless shelter.”

Quadra Islander Mike Gall said he didn’t agree with government controlling what people put on their own properties, within reason.

“I find it quite offensive that the SRD would even consider placing a complete ban on them,” Gall said. “I am not a fan of unnecessary governance imposing rules on what I can do on my own property unless it endangers or affects the health and well-being of my family and neighbours.”

Leigh said in taking those comments into consideration she decided to scrap a similar plan for Area D.

She reluctantly said she would be fine with leaving the issue until January but said it’s up to the board to decide.

“We can leave it to January, it doesn’t matter, I just wanted to get it off my mind and off the table,” Leigh said.

“I would like to get it off the table so staff can focus on other things but if you want to drag it out til January.

“I don’t believe in dragging things out any longer than necessary.”

The board in the end chose to honour Leigh’s original notice of motion to consider the shipping container issue on Jan. 13 – the board’s first meeting in the new year.