Muni urges Burfield homeowners to fix illegal suites

Burfield Drive is being built out but some utilities are already nearing or over capacity. Photo SPIN.

Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) is waiting for owners of illegal suites on Burfield Dr. to step forward.

At a Sept. 16 public meeting, SPMRM chief administrative officer Rob Bremner presented on the topic and encouraged owners with existing suites to hire a code consultant to create a list of life safety issues in the home to rectify.

When fixed, the municipality will allow a single suite in a duplex building. This means in a duplex there could be two main living areas and two suites.

As of mid-October no one had yet approached the municipality but this didn’t surprise Bremner as he said it would take some time to hire a consultant and complete any required changes.
The issue of illegal suites began before the municipality incorporated in 2010. Cease and desist letters were sent to Burfield residents by the Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD) but were not followed up on as the municipality was created.

When short-term rental zoning was created and inspections were completed to ensure compliance with BC building codes it was found many of homes on Burfield Dr. would not pass as they had developed suites without building permits and the zoning doesn’t allow suites.

With increased construction and population on the street in recent years, sewer utilities have become strained. Bremner said that the area is only 75 per cent constructed but already passed sewer capacity and often backs up into manholes.

The municipality is looking at ways to finance increasing the sewer capacity with a large holding tank. Initial costs estimate the construction to be around $250,000 which would have to paid by the homeowners in some way.

The issue of capacity will have to be addressed as the area continues to grow, Bremner said no solution has been chosen but emphasized the issue of fairness. He said council believes it would be unfair to penalize those not putting additional stress on the system.

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