By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
The Town of Castor council meeting held Feb. 24th was a busy one.
During the meeting, two new bylaws were introduced and the issue of sea cans in residential zones was discussed by council.
The first of the Bylaws introduced was Bylaw 1073 Fire Protection Bylaw. This new bylaw replaces the previous bylaw introduced in 2016, as that bylaw was found to not be compliant with the Municipal Government Act when the Town underwent its review in the spring of 2019.
The Bylaw defines the roles of the fire chief, the fire department members, and to whom the fire chief is responsible, and who can issue fines in contravention of the bylaw.
Schedule “A” of the bylaw sets out the fines under the bylaw. The bylaw passed first reading during the Feb. 24th meeting, however in a motion made by Coun. Kevin McDougall, a change is being made that will have any “excessive” fire costs be charged, in addition to any fine given.
The second bylaw seen by council was bylaw 1074, the establishment of a Subdivision and Development Appeal Board (SDAB).
As with the fire bylaw, the previous SDAB bylaw was found to be in contravention of the Municipal Government Act and needed to be corrected.
The new bylaw outlines who shall sit on the board, the duration of the appointments to the board, and how often the board meets.
Bylaw 1074 also passed through the first reading during the meeting and will now be advertised for community input before going to the second and third readings.
Another item on the council’s agenda had to do with shipping containers, more informally known as sea cans, in residential areas. Under the current Land Use Bylaw, the structures are not allowed in residential areas, however several of the containers have been found in the residential zones of the community and some predate the existing Land Use Bylaw.
The issue was brought forward when a resident moved one of these containers onto his property without requesting a development permit, and when the permit was requested after the fact it was denied.
In a letter to council, the resident requested that council consider updating the bylaw to allow the structures, and while the Town is considering its options to hold off on any enforcement action.
“If council wants to allow sea cans, I need time to do my due diligence, “said CAO Christopher Robblee during the discussion.
Council’s reaction to the temporary structures was mixed.
“I don’t see them as an eye sore, however I have seen some old garages in town that aren’t looking so good,” said Deputy Mayor Tony Nichols. “I think we should change the bylaw.
Coun. Brenda Wismer disagreed.
“I don’t think they belong in town,” disagreed Wismer. “I think they are unsightly.”
After the discussion on the issue, council instructed Robblee to hold off on any enforcement action on any of the containers in the community while Robblee contacts Palliser Regional Municipal Planning Services for an opinion on the matter.
According to Robblee, there are four or five of the structures in the residential zones, which is not allowed, and 30, which are allowed, in the industrial zones.
Other highlights of the Feb. 24th council meeting.
• Council has approved a $5,000 request for funding from the Castor Municipal Library. The funding is part of the Town’s yearly budget to assist the library in remaining viable.
• Council discussed partnering with other agencies to create a ‘bikes for kids’ program in town. All council members thought it was a great idea and have directed CAO Robblee to bring back information after speaking with potential partners.
• A tax sale property up for sale by the Town has been on sale for a year and is due to be relisted. Council has dropped the asking price from $35,000 to $30,000.
• CAO Robblee reviewed the development of a legal ‘record’ for council, making the members aware what can be used in a court of law.
• CAO Robblee also discussed the possibility of the Town creating a Municipality Controlled Corporation, and will be bring several business cases forward in later meetings.