MPC balks at FireSmart principles

‘Too expensive’ says councillor

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

Safety first is a popular slogan, but when it comes down to it, safety is not first. It certainly isn’t with the Slave Lake Municipal Planning Commission, which last week defeated a motion to include FireSmart requirements for new builds in the town.

The much-delayed bylaw has been in the works for a couple of years. A tremendous amount of work has gone into it. The idea is to make homes and other buildings in Slave Lake more resistant to fire. But what seemed essential in the aftermath of the 2011 wildfires seems (to at least half of the MPC) to be more of a hindrance to development.

When it came down to a vote at the MPC’s July 28 meeting, three were in favour of the bylaw change and three were opposed. A tie equals a defeat.

Voting in favour of the bylaw were chair Shirley Torresan-Chykerda, Sayed Shah and Dan Rooks. Opposed were town councillors Brice Ferguson and Shawn Gramlich, and public member Audrey Emes. Ferguson said he feared the extra expense involved could deter development.

The defeat by the MPC does not necessarily mean the matter is done for. It will now come to town council, with the MPC recommendation not to proceed. Council could overrule the commission, or propose amendments.
In other news, the MPC approved a home-based lash-extension business, a home-based construction business and a home-based fitness business.

Parking seemed to be the main consideration in each case, and according to the report, the proponents had assured the town’s planning and development department.

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