Saanich council passed an order Monday night requiring the property owner at 999 Tattersall Dr. to take down this portable tarp structure

When a tent becomes a building

Tattersall homeowner gets heat from Saanich for shelter

Joseph Nash didn’t get a building permit to pitch a tent in his yard – so the municipality is forcing him to take it down.

The portable shelter was installed in early 2010 and has sat aside his house, at 999 Tattersall Dr., ever since. The tent is 10 by 20 feet in area, and is made from a metal frame with a protective canvas and plastic tarp around it.

A drawn-out dispute process that spanned 26 months ended last week when Nash unsuccessfully tried to convince Saanich council to let him keep his tent erect.

“I’m questioning that these are actually structures. There’s been no independent decision, there’s not been a chance to determine this is any sort of court of law that these stands are considered structures and therefore come under the jurisdiction of the B.C. building code,” Nash said to council last week. “And I’m saying they do not. They are not structures. This process should not have come to this point. It should be quashed.”

Saanich’s bylaw department argued that because the tent has been up for more than two years, it is considered a permanent structure, which was installed without a permit. As well, it was built too close to the property line.

“They are what they are – they’re temporary. We consider them structures and that’s the way we’ve been going for the last couple years,” said bylaw enforcement officer Perry Carrigan. “We have a standard letter we send out to the violators telling them they’re welcome to apply for a building permit, if they can get engineering specifications that meet the requirements of the building code.”

Council unanimously supported the bylaw department’s order to have the structure removed.

Once Nash is issued notice, he will have 60 days to dismantle the tent, otherwise the municipality will have the right to send its own crews or a contractor on the site to take it down themselves, at Nash’s expense.



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