The Town of Gibsons is increasing its focus on secondary suites after two recent fires drew attention to inadequate fire separations and faulty, missing or unconnected smoke detectors.
The goal is to help homeowners bring their suites (illegal or otherwise) up to the proper regulatory standard, rather than to punish people. At this time, there will be no sanctions against homeowners who request an official inspection of their secondary suites and are found to be in non-compliance.
“We appreciate there is a housing crisis on the Coast and that secondary suites are helping to ease the current shortage of available rental units,” said Chester Machniewski, the Town’s building inspector. “Our goal is not to shut these suites down. However, we cannot turn a blind eye to fire safety regulations at the possible expense of people’s lives.”
“There also seems to be a misconception by some owners that compliance with our requirements for secondary suites is onerous and prohibitively expensive,” added Machniewski. “In fact, in many cases a self-closing door, a bit of additional drywall and smoke detectors are all that are needed.”
The Gibsons District Volunteer Fire Department (GDVFD) is working closely with the Town to ensure all secondary suites meet fire safety standards.
“Everyone in this community should feel safe in their home,” said Rob Michael, GDVFD Fire Chief. “And every homeowner who has a rental suite is responsible for the safety of the tenants living under their roof. We just want to ensure that all landlords are living up to their responsibility.”
To request a building inspection online, please go to http://www.gibsons.ca/building-inspection and fill out the required form. Town staff will respond promptly.