Sunrise debates future bylaws to regulate growth

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Northern Sunrise County is currently undergoing a major Land-Use Bylaw (LUB) refresh to ensure its bylaws are staying relevant.
At its Jan. 10 meeting, council was presented with the potential addition of five new items for the LUB, including regulations for emerging trends of sea cans, Air BnBs, casinos, aquaculture and solar energy development on a commercial scale.
“Council had requested administration to bring information forth on those specific emerging trends so they could be discussed,” says Reeve Corinna Williams.
Administration presented regulations for shipping containers (sea cans) that would include regulations found in a number of other municipalities in the province. Sea cans are classified as accessory buildings, only to be used in non-residential areas as cold storage only.
“Council does not want to be so prescriptive to our landowners and delve into that type of minutia,” says Williams.
“The use of sea cans in emerging trends was only for storage purposes. If a sea can is used as a residence a development permit would be required.”
Solar energy development of a commercial scale was also proposed in amendments to the current LUB. This would ensure that developments would be classed as discretionary used by the development authority with provision that the developments be on agricultural land Class 3 or below.
“Council did not want to see them (commercial solar development) take up large tracts of prime agricultural land,” says Williams.
“Should they wish to be placed in the green zone that would be an option that commercial users could look into. This will not affect businesses; this would be like creating a solar power plant.”
Williams explained council’s decision to not add regulations on Air BnBs was also an effort to ensure not becoming prescriptive to landowners.
“We are a small, rural municipality where this (Air BnBs) is not taking away from people being able to find housing in the county,” she says.
Aquaculture regulations were also presented on new LUB bylaws, but council was concerned about the large amount of water that would be required for that type of business.
“Currently, there have been no requests for this type of development in the county,” says Williams, further explaining why council didn’t feel it necessary for regulations to be created.
“There is always an opportunity for it to be considered in the future should someone come forward with this type of venture for the county,” she adds.
Council decided to not approve the addition of any of the recommended emerging trend additions to its LUB. Williams did say that amendments could be made in the future, should council be approached by entrepreneurs interested in the ventures.

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