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This article was published 18/4/2017 (1459 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A proposed new fire prevention bylaw that imposes mandatory fire safety inspection standards for food-truck vendors and illegal rooming houses was endorsed by a civic committee Tuesday.
The new bylaw, which incorporates most provisions of the existing bylaw, will also prohibit the deployment of sky lanterns and allows the charging of fees for new fire safety inspections.
The draft bylaw drew praise from Alex Forrest, president of the local firefighters union, who said its new provisions for the inspection of illegal rooming houses will result in the saving of lives.
"This is a very important day," Forrest told the protection, community services and parks committee. "This fire prevention bylaw will assist us in controlling and dealing with both illegal rooming houses and legal rooming houses."
An administrative report to the committee says the new bylaw incorporates new fire safety standards, with the requirement for new mandatory inspections.
Janet Bier, the director of fire prevention with the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, said the WFPS has hired three additional fire safety inspectors this year and another two will be hired next year. The inspectors will be responsible for new mandatory inspections of legal and illegal rooming houses, of low- and medium-hazard industrial operations and for mobile food trucks.
The cost of the additional fire inspection staff is expected to be offset by fees charged for the new mandatory inspections.
The administrative report predicts public concern over illegal rooming houses will spur an increase in inspections of those facilities. Building owners will be charged a fee of $100 per resident, at a minimum of $500.
Among the new fire inspection fees are a $50 charge for food-cart operators and $150 charge for food-truck operators.
The new bylaw will also authorize fire safety inspectors to install smoke alarms in facilities where none exist or to replace faulty alarms with functioning units in situations where the landlords can’t be reached or refuse to install the units themselves.
Bier said the city will be conducting a public relations campaign to outline the changes in the bylaw.
The only vote against the bylaw came from Coun. Russ Wyatt. While Wyatt said he supported most provisions of the new bylaw, he said sections dealing with food-truck and food-cart vendors don’t appear to be in place in other municipalities and will be hurtful to those business operators.
"This is something that could dramatically impact the whole industry that’s out there right now," Wyatt said, adding he would not vote for it unless it could be amended.
The report was endorsed by the committee and goes to council for final approval, likely at the April 26 meeting.