Shipping containers now approved for barn use in Kent

The first shipping container barn in the district will house between 100 and 200 hens

Farmers can now use shipping containers for more than just storage, after an amendment to Kent’s zoning bylaw was approved.

At a public hearing Monday night (Nov. 25), Kent council heard from the public on whether farmers should be allowed to use shipping containers as barns on farmland, rather than only allowing them to be used to store material.

RELATED: Kent to consider shipping containers as barns on farmland

An Agassiz resident who had a request into the district to allow for a shipping container to be used as a poultry barn was at the public hearing, and spoke in favour of the amendment.

“It’s a cost-effective way for farmers, especially young farmers, to start out,” James Enns said. “If my son is raising chickens for egg production, and say in a few years he leaves home, moves out, he doesn’t have a big investment with a permanent structure.”

Enns was the only person to speak at the public hearing, and during stayed during the regular council meeting to hear council give third reading and final adoption to the bylaw amendment.

According to director of development services Darcey Kohuch, approving the bylaw amendment doesn’t give farmers free reign to simply plop a container on their farm and use it for whatever they want.

Shipping containers still need to meet the B.C. building code and fire codes if they are being used as building structures, so they would likely need ventilation upgrades, as well as permits for things like electrical work.

Enns’ shipping container poultry barn, which will house between 100 and 200 hens, was also up for discussion during the council meeting, as he applied for a setback variance for the barn on his property. The variance was approved, with the understanding that he would need to paint the exposed side of the container to match his other barns when the weather improved.

As approved as part of the zoning bylaw amendment was a number of other, smaller amendments: changes to keep the bylaw in line with the ALC regulations, updated wording around accessible parking, the removal of the flood control provision and changes to the wording around fences in the district, to make it clear that eight-foot fences are only allowed behind the front line setback.

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