City explores chemical storage in C-3 zones

The City of Fort St. John has begun to look into the issue of storage of chemicals.

At Monday’s regular meeting, council directed staff to look into, in particular, the possibility of changing the rules for C-3 and light industrial zones, and what types of hazerdous materials should be allowed.

It was councillor Ackerman who first raised the issue, pointing in particular to warehouses, such as the Formula Powell building that went up in flames in February, sending a thick plume of toxic black smoke into the skies. She proposed the city may want to change its zoning bylaws to ensure chemicals that could prove dangerous, aren’t stored in residential areas.

Outgoing mayor Jim Eglinski agreed with the proposal, saying the city could learn from the Formula Powell fire.

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However, Councillor Larry Evans, himself the city’s former fire chief, says it’s not quite as easy as moving dangerous chemicals away. Evans says the chemicals being stored for the oil patch are always changing, and where the smoke goes depends more on the wind, than the location of origin.

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And so, city staff will investigate zoning bylaws, and the storage of industrial materials, and will come forward with a report early in the new year.

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