An illegal structure attached to an recreational vehicle on Alfred Avenue in Smithers has been ordered removed by Smithers council before February 14, 2021.
In a report to council dated Jan. 8, after a series of contacts with the owner over several months, Town staff recommended to council “demolition is considered the best option.”
“On October 30, 2020, at the request of Smithers RCMP due to numerous complaints, the Town’s building inspector and Town bylaw enforcement officer attended the site,” The report reads.
They found the structure “is a poorly built, three-sided frame building attached to a combustible motor home. Of special concern is the wood burning stove installed inside.”
“During the visit, the building inspector posted a Do Not Occupy order on the wall of the building, which was subsequently removed by the occupants.”
“At the time of the site visit, the owner answered the door and told Town staff members that the structure would be removed as requested.”
Town Staff contacted the owner when the structure was not removed in person and by mail over the subsequent weeks to no avail. An order was issued by the building inspector that the illegal structure be removed by Dec. 20.
Council was informed that as of Jan. 8 the structure was still standing.
“Town staff are concerned that this structure creates an unsafe condition for a variety of reasons, but immediate threats include the structure either burning down or collapsing under snow load,” the report stated.
Council discussed this matter at some length, with Coun. Casda Thomas and Mayor Gladys Atrill asking if other agencies had been consulted, given the time of year with weather and if this was a primary source of heat, which staff could not answer at the time.
Given the limited information, council decided to proceed with a resolution based on the recommendation from staff to demolish the structure out an abundant concern over health and wellness issues. Thomas remained opposed in the vote.
Atrill made note that if the owner wanted to request a reconsideration or for an extension of time, there would be another meeting of council before the actual demolition took place.
“On Wednesday Jan. 27, the approved order was delivered, and “we did speak directly to the homeowner,” Matt Davey, bylaw enforcement officer said.
“At the time, it was a bit unclear whether the homeowner understood directly what was being told to him and the process that had gone on.”
After that meeting, and considering concerns of council regarding outside agencies, Davey contacted the Mental Health Outreach Team who were to meet with the homeowner on Jan. 29.