(File photo)

Castor council discussing options surrounding tarp-sheds

A discussion on Castor’s in-the-works Land Use Bylaw update spurred a conversation surrounding tarp-sheds during the town council’s Aug. 22 meeting.

Chief administrative officer Christopher Robblee informed council that to-date in 2022 he has signed development approvals for six of the fabric and metal structures in the community.

“It doesn’t say it’s not allowed,” said Robblee. ” My interpretation is it’s a permitted use.”

Part of the problem with tarp-sheds is that as they are temporary structures, they are not taxed on property assessments.

“It’s a way around paying extra taxes,” said Robblee.

Another issue with the structures is that over time they begin to deteriorate.

“They are supposed to keep them looking nice,” said Robblee.

“We don’t enforce on that. You should at least talk about (them). Lot’s of municipalities have moved to not allowing them at all. If you want a garage, build one.”

Tarp-sheds must conform to the same sizing as sheds, according to Robblee, with a maximum interior space of 144-square-feet, though residents can apply to the Municipal Planning Commission to have a variance of up to 20 per cent allowed.

Council suggested putting a tax or a levy on the structures, but it was something that Robblee shot down after consulting the Municipal Government Act.

“You can’t tax tarp-sheds specifically,” said Robblee. “The only way you can do this is force them to build a brick and mortar.”

If council were to outlaw the structures in the community through the updated and yet-to-be approved bylaw, the existing structures would be allowed to remain as being “legally non-conforming” as they were legal at the time of installation.

No new ones would be allowed.

Robblee was blunt with council.

“If you want me to do anything other than approve them, you need to change the bylaw.”

Coun. McDougall motioned for administration to get more feedback from Palliser, who handles municipal planning for the region, and neighbouring communities to see how they are handling the structures in their communities.

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