Minden Hills council has knocked back a request from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to place a sea can on their property along Hwy. 35.
Staff Sgt. Robert Flindall wrote to council last month seeking an exemption to the township’s bylaws to add the storage device.
“The size of our detachment limits our usable space for storage and we are currently quite full, including a pre-existing shed at the rear of our property,” Staff Sgt. Flindall said. He added the container would not be used for hazardous waste or dangerous goods as they do not allow those items on site.
He said the detachment received approval to purchase the sea container, but needed the township to grant them an exemption.
Mayor Bob Carter said the sea can would be hidden behind the trees at the back of the lot.
“This is generally what’s being done with OPP detachments across the province, that this is the solution that they have come up with.”
Coun. Ivan Ingram said while a great idea, he asked if they even had a bylaw regarding sea cans.
Chief building official, David Rogers, said it was in the zoning bylaw and currently they are not permitted in any zone.
Ingram said, “to my point then, we allow it at the OPP station, then I’m going to go and get one tomorrow and stick it in my back yard for storage. I mean there’s hundreds of them around town which at this point now are probably going to have to be grandfathered in if we ever do get a bylaw in place, and a staff member that actually inspects them.”
Ingram added while he understood what the OPP wanted to do; he didn’t think it was good practice.
Carter said they were not changing a bylaw but making a specific exception for OPP.
“But what about the 100 other people that have them sitting around?” Ingram pressed.
When Carter tried to respond, Ingram interrupted with, “no, we have to deal with it now because we can’t just allow…”
Carter said, “Coun. Ingram, we can’t necessarily change that bylaw right here today. It is something that will be taken up by the planning committee in a proposal put forward. Yes, I do know that we have them out there and we have to deal with them even though they shouldn’t have been there in the first place but this is a specific request and a specific exemption for our police force who have a specific need.”
Coun. Pam Sayne said it was probably the first time someone had asked permission first. “I don’t want to turn this down just because we have so many other sea cans that are built illegally.”
Coun. Tammy McKelvey said it was a bit “embarrassing” that OPP were asking permission for something the township has allowed elsewhere. She suggested a temporary exemption, or institutional zoning.
Carter said, “I think we’re making this way too complicated. I recognize that we have an issue with these and it is something that we have to deal with. But this is our police force who have a particular need. They have a solution that is approved provincially. They did come to ask for permission because they’re recognized the situation. I think we should comply to help them out. This is something they need.
Ingram said while it may meet OPP needs, it does not meet township needs. He also criticized Carter for putting off putting the item on agendas since January.
The request was denied.