A big thank-you Pro­posed changes to ve­hi­cle by­law in­suf­fi­cient, says writer to fire­fight­ers

The Compass - - OPINION -

Dear Edi­tor,

A great big thank-you to mem­ber of the Bay Roberts Vol­un­teer Fire Depart­ment for risk­ing your lives in your many acts of valiant res­cue! Today, we have our own story to tell.

On Fri­day, May 25, 2012 we ex­pe­ri­enced our own near dis­as­ter when our circa 1871 house un­ex­pect­edly caught fire be­tween the Cape Cod sid­ing and the in­ter­nal, well dried, 140-year-old wall and roof struc­ture.

We later learned from our in­sur­ance in­ves­ti­ga­tor that be­cause of mod­ern build­ing tech­niques, many newer and up­graded homes are built to very dan­ger­ous, more flammable stan­dards as a re­sult of foam in­su­la­tion, and in­fe­rior sub-struc­tures. Th­ese in­clude use of smaller tim­ber in roof trusses and floor joist i-beams that use ori­ented strand board (OSB) as a sup­port web run­ning be­tween the two by three lum­ber.

As an ex­pe­ri­enced fire­fighter, he also men­tioned that be­cause of th­ese is­sues and the in­creased smoke tox­i­c­ity of many mod­ern build­ing ma­te­ri­als, he’d rather work at ex­tin­guish­ing a fire in an older home any day.

Ar­riv­ing within min­utes of our emer­gency call, our team of fire­fight­ers had this fire un­der con­trol within the half hour, and with min­i­mal de­struc­tion to our house. The amaz­ing thing is that, gaug­ing the age of the house and the chim­ney ef­fect of the space be­tween the two joined, three-storey sides, we re­al­ize this fire could have turned into a heap of lost dreams had it gone on for even min­utes more.

We will cer­tainly be chang­ing the ma­te­ri­als we choose to build with in fu­ture de­vel­op­ments.

Thanks again Bay Roberts Fire Depart­ment. We wish we knew all your names so we could list them here. You do a valiant ser­vice to our com­mu­nity. Boyd and Mar­garet French

write from Bay Roberts Dear Edi­tor:

I want to comment on the pro­posed amend­ment to Car­bon­ear’s com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle by-law that was writ­ten about on page A2 of the June 5 edi­tion of The Com­pass.

The town coun­cil is try­ing to solve the prob­lem of too many com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles be­ing parked in a sin­gle res­i­den­tial area by once again amend­ing the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle by­law the same way they did when they had a fuel spill a few years ago and re­stricted the park­ing of fuel trucks.

The prob­lem that I see with this is that they aren’t ad­dress­ing the real prob­lem, which is large com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles be­ing parked in res­i­den­tial ar­eas in the first place. A bet­ter so­lu­tion to this prob­lem is to use a part of the Car­bon­ear home-based busi­ness by­law, which deals much bet­ter with this prob­lem.

The home-based busi­ness by-law states that no reg­u­lar park­ing of com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles — ex­cept for one ve­hi­cle with a pay­load ca­pac­ity of no greater than two tonnes — will be per­mit­ted. This by­law would al­low peo­ple to park pickup trucks and de­liv­ery vans and the like, but keep large com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles out of res­i­den­tial ar­eas. The by­law also deals with noise, dust, fumes and own­ers work­ing on their ve­hi­cles.

There is ac­tu­ally a dou­ble-stan­dard when it comes to park­ing com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles in a res­i­den­tial area in Car­bon­ear. If you start a home-based busi­ness you are re­stricted to the size of ve­hi­cle, the amount of traf­fic you gen­er­ate and noise is­sues. Also, you will have to fill out an ap­pli­ca­tion for a home-based busi­ness and pay higher taxes.

If you are driv­ing a com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle for some­one else you can park what­ever you want in your drive­way, no size limita- tion, no ap­pli­ca­tion and no busi­ness taxes. I brought this up at a coun­cil meet­ing a cou­ple of years ago and asked “if I had a home-based busi­ness could I park a bus next to my house?” The an­swer was no, but when I asked “could I give the bus to some­one else to drive and let them park it in their drive­way?” The an­swer was yes. If this isn’t a dou­ble-stan­dard, I don’t know what is. And if I was run­ning a home-based busi­ness I would be less than im­pressed.

An­other cou­ple of is­sues with the pro­posed amend­ment are that there are no size re­stric­tions men­tioned on the com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles, so some­one could park any­thing from a front-end loader to a trans­port truck next to your home and you would have no say in the mat­ter.

The other is­sue is that this amend­ment is be­ing sug­gested be­cause some peo­ple are park­ing more than one com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle at a sin­gle res­i­dence. Well if some­one has three tan­dem dump trucks but is only al­lowed to have one parked at his home, we are left to as­sume that the other two ve­hi­cles will be parked next to an­other cou­ple of homes in Car­bon­ear, which is not solv­ing any­thing but caus­ing more prob­lems.

The Car­bon­ear town coun­cil wants to at­tract more peo­ple to our town, but let­ting peo­ple park large com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles in res­i­den­tial ar­eas isn’t go­ing to be a big sell­ing point. In fact, I would guess that it would have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on your prop­erty value.

I hope our mayor and coun­cil­lors put a lit­tle more thought into this is­sue and come up with a bet­ter so­lu­tion and not just a quick fix that will lead to more prob­lems down the road. If any­one wants to look at the town by­laws men­tioned, they are on the town web­site un­der the head­ing”ser­vices.” Randy Pike writes

from Car­bon­ear

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