FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – North Peace Fall Fair organizers say the Peace River Regional District has declared the Adeline Kelly Exhibits Building unfit for use and is asking the community for their support.
NPFF is currently planning a $34,000 addition to the building, constructed in 2014, to include a kitchen, washrooms, and community hall space, prompting the PRRD to review their building permit.
In a March 31st report, PRRD’s general manager of development services, Kathy Suggitt, says the building wasn’t built to code and cannot be structurally retrofitted.
Organizer Bruce Christiansen says that the fair is requesting that the building be grandfathered in as organizers consulted and followed all the guidelines and directions of the PRRD to ensure the Kelly Building was built correctly and able to be used for fair exhibit purposes back in 2014.
“When we approached the building inspector back in 2014, there was no concern then; as a matter of fact, he told us we didn’t even have to get a building permit because it’s not required in that area,” Christiansen said.
“Our belief is that this building should be grandfathered in, and if not that, we should not be the organization responsible for bearing the cost of making it a building that would meet their regulations,” he continued.
However, the report by PRRD says the permit was obtained for the building in 2014 on the basis that the structure was to be used for storage.
“This is devastating for the NPFF, we cannot afford to deconstruct and build a new building, and it creates major issues of where we will be able to put exhibits for future fairs,” organizers said on social media.
Christiansen says he doesn’t want to cause trouble but believes the PRRD incorrectly classified the building and doesn’t see why the NPFF should bear the costs of constructing a new building.
“We’ve used this building for eight, going on nine years. We’ve never had an issue. It’s only a three-season building. It gets used very seldom. There are some things we need to do. We understand that we need to have some exit signs and some security lighting and so on,” he said.
“When we went in and applied for the permit, we said we were there to replace the oldest grade building for the new display building. That is what we went for, that’s why we built the building,” he continued.
He adds that the building received funding from the regional district and the Northern Development Initiative.
Christensen says the primary concern of the current building inspector has to do with snow loads, something he sees as a non-issue as the building isn’t used during the winter.
Christensen adds that he wasn’t aware the PRRD board was planning to discuss the matter until being notified by a board member.
“They called me immediately and said, what can we prepare? What do we have prepared? And I said, well, nothing, but I’ll put together something, so we will make a small presentation,” Christensen said.
The NPFF will go before the PRRD to discuss the matter on Thursday and invites residents to join them to show their support.
Those unable to join are invited to send a letter of support to [email protected]
View the PRRD’s report below:
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