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