Developer bemoans sprinkler costs

A Campbell River builder is hopeful council will let him build a triplex without a fire suppression system

Developer Jared Welychko says dealing with city hall has been frustrating.

Welychko wants to build a triplex on Alder Street, but scolded council  Tuesday night.

“Developing a three-plex has been an exercise in frustration,” said Welychko. “Our development permit was met with resistance and multiple changes in the design layout and landscaping were made to accommodate the recommendations of the building permit.”

To make things worse for Welychko, his building permit was recently denied by the planning department because his plans don’t include a fire suppression sprinkler system. Though the sprinkler system is not mandated by the B.C. Building Code, it is a requirement for multiple-unit developments in Campbell River.

Welychko said he’s been given an estimate of $9,000 to install the system, but compounding the problem is the the water line going into 741 Alder St. does not support a fire suppression system.

“The property doesn’t even have a storm sewer,” Welychko said. “So we’re told from city employees that in order to install a fire suppression system we’re responsible for the costs related to the excavation of Alder Street and the installation of a two- to two-and-a-half- inch water main bringing water from the other side of Alder Street.”

Welychko said that’s expected to set him back $25,000 more.

“It’s reasonable if we’re building an apartment building and the cost can be spread out over multiple units, but there are only three units and the cost makes this project uneconomical to continue with,” he said.

The developer said he could legally build a duplex without fire suppression, but he figures a duplex would not compliment the neighbourhood in the same way a triplex would.

However, some residents who live near the property disagree that even a triplex fits in with the neighbourhood.

At a public hearing in July, several neighbours spoke in opposition. Rob Archer was concerned about the noise with having the parking right behind his house while Tyson Mielke, who lives next door to the site, said the height of the structure would allow the residents to peer unimpeded into his backyard and deck. Lorne Harron, who spoke on behalf of resident Gladys Derraugh said Derraugh was concerned her property would be de-valued and that the development would add to the high volume of traffic in the area.

Welychko told council he is in the process of submitting a variance application to remove the sprinkler requirement and hoped council would make a reasonable decision.

“In such fragile economic times, why provide such unnecessary restrictions on development that makes projects like this uneconomical?” Welychko questioned.”I encourage council to take another look at the building bylaw and make it reasonable for small-scale developers.”