District of Kent Council voted to table an agenda item related to illegally-built buildings on a private property.
The property in question, located at 3004 Hardy Road, has no permits for several buildings. In a staff report to Council, Darcey Kohuch, director of development services, reported that throughout the last two years, staff met and corresponded with the property owner to discuss compliance program options with him. Staff informed the property owner, Martin Sparkes, that if an incident were to occur within the building, he may be held liable and is at risk of not being covered by insurance.
In early 2014, staff met with Sparkes “to discuss options to legalize his Septic Expert business and his accessory buildings that have been constructed without a permit,” states a staff report to Council. The buildings of concern include a cover-all, a three bay post and beam building, a shipping container and shed. The District sent a letter to the owner with a January 16 deadline to apply for the building permits. Following a series of meetings and emails which proved unfruitful, Council was asked to consider authorizing staff to proceed with the paperwork to apply Section 57 of the Community Charter on the property.
Section 57 of BC’s Community Charter protects the District from liability and puts owners on notice of safety concerns that have been identified or that permits or inspections haven’t been obtained. Staff recommended that a meeting be set with the property owner to discuss the matter further.
However, at the regular Council meeting held February 10, they opted to table the matter. Coun. Sylvia Pranger said it is difficult to be in a small business and, before any more matters related to rural business come before Council, she suggested the matter should be tabled. Council voted that the Section 57 Notice on Title be tabled until such time when Council has had an opportunity to have a wholesome discussion to review all businesses operating on rural properties as agreed at the Strategic Planning Session.