The City of Fernie has updated several existing bylaws in order to regulate how and where shipping containers are used within city limits.
The city updated the Zoning Bylaw as well as the Fire and Life Safety Bylaw in an effort to reduce the public safety risk and hazards to first responders that can occur when shipping containers are used improperly. The changes to these bylaws were adopted at a city council meeting on May 25.
The new regulations only allow shipping containers to be on residential properties for a maximum period of one month to facilitate moving or as storage on a construction site with a valid building permit. All other residential use of shipping containers is now prohibited.
For people who already have a shipping container with the proper permits on their property, they will be allowed to keep it as long as it is modified in accordance with the updated regulations. The required modifications include increasing ventilation and reducing the potential for explosions.
Flammable and combustible liquids cannot be stored in a shipping container. Likewise, no plumbing, electrical or gas services can be connected to the container and any dangerous goods that are stored within a container must be properly identified by placards mounted on two sides so that first responders are aware of the contents.
The city is reminding residents that “any shipping containers in place that do not conform to the zoning regulations in place at the time of installation or did not receive a development permit where required, must be removed.”
Shipping containers that do not conform to the new regulations are unlawful and must be removed. The City of Fernie also noted that removal of the unlawful containers is not up for appeal.