Quadra to debate use of shipping containers

A public hearing will be held on whether Strathcona Regional District should crack down on the use of shipping containers

A public hearing will be held next month to help determine whether or not the Strathcona Regional District should crack down on the use of shipping containers on Quadra Island.

The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16 at the Quadra Community Centre.

Up for discussion is whether shipping containers should be prohibited in all zones other than Industrial One and Industrial Two.

Jim Abram, director for Area C, requested a review of the containers on the island because of the absence of a bylaw regulating their use.

“The concern is that shipping containers can be unsightly and may be more frequently sited in the area as they become readily available at a relatively low cost,” wrote Victoria Smith, planner for the regional district, in a report to the regional district board. “This may lead to conflict within the community about property standards and the need to preserve rural scenic amenity.”

She said that shipping containers are increasingly being used as a low-cost option for storage in residential areas and even has dwellings in some cases. Smith pointed out that in recent years, a number of municipalities across B.C. have restricted shipping containers to industrial and occasionally, commercial zones.

The City of Campbell River discussed the issue at length for several months in 2013, before council decided to leave the issue alone following strong opposition. City staff had recommended banning shipping containers from commercial and residential properties, except in the case of construction or a review by city hall.

Cortes Island Director Noba Anderson agreed last week that the shipping container debate should be left alone.

“I understand this is coming from Quadra and I will always support a public hearing and I will support the will of a community but I’ve just got to say, that this is nuts,” Anderson said at last week’s regional district board meeting. “This is far beyond anything I think Cortes would feel comfortable with and I know we live in different communities so I will defer to Quadra but I think regulating the use of shipping containers – I’d rather not see it.”

If the regulation does go through, Industrial One and Industrial Two zones would be exempt.

In those zones, two containers would be permitted provided they are not stacked. The public hearing will be held immediately following a public hearing at 7 p.m. for an unrelated rezoning bylaw application.