Since the middle of last year, the Town of Strathmore has been discussing and reworking their land use bylaw regarding sea cans, and some recent changes have been proposed and will be discussed in Town Council on February 15. These changes all concern ventilation and what can or can't be stored in a sea can.
One change deleted the section regarding required ventilation for sea cans. Town of Strathmore's Planner III Megan Williams explained ventilation will no longer be required for every sea can, and instead will be monitored on a case-by-case basis. Following Alberta Building Code regulations, Williams explained sea cans holding hazardous materials will require proper ventilation, as she cited an example of a sea can that exploded due to holding chainsaws with gasoline in them. While that may seem minor, the gasoline in the chainsaws evaporated, and when exposed to fire outside, the sea can exploded and killed a fire captain as a result. Sea cans that pose no risk will not require ventilation, but any with hazardous materials will need ventilation to keep the community safe.
Directly related to this change is amending the storage restrictions so compressed gasses can't be stored in sea cans, which of course is meant to severely decrease any risk of explosions.
Sea cans must also be registered through the fire department for regular inspection to make sure everything is safe. For any business using sea can storage, Williams said there will be no additional expenses, as sea can inspection will become a part of the usual business inspection fee.
Another aspect of the bylaw is that sea cans will not be used as dwelling units. This was a holdover from previous versions of the bylaw, which Williams explained was meant to prevent people from living in unsafe conditions.
"The original intent was that people just couldn't set up shop within sea cans without making the renovations to it, you can't just live in a sea can as it is."
While there have been examples of sea cans being converted into affordable living spaces, Williams said this isn't something Town Council discussed.
"It's not on the table at the moment, it's not in consideration right now. If somebody were to come forward with a proposal, we would look at it then."
While some may think a renovated sea can to live in has similarities to the Town's current garden suites plans, Williams said these are two separate things that at the moment don't have any connection to each other.