Mandatory sprinkler systems in new residential builds voted down by Regina city council
Mandatory fire sprinkler systems in new residential builds and the Arcola Avenue corridor study were some of the items on Regina City Council’s agenda for its Wednesday afternoon meeting.
City council voted down a motion that would have mandated fire sprinkler systems in new residential builds.
The motion was defeated in a 9-1 vote.
Landon Mohl was the sole councillor to vote in favour of the mandatory residential sprinklers, telling council the cost of installation is a very low price compared to a person’s life.
“Please choose to save people’s lives,” he said to council moments before the vote.
A total of 16 groups were scheduled to speak about the recommendation. The majority opposed the motion.
Chris Guerette, CEO of the Saskatchewan Realtors Association, attended a rally outside city hall before expressing her opposition at the council meeting.
Guerette said the industry is already facing challenges that are driving up housing and building prices. Adding a residential sprinkler mandate will only had to affordability concerns, she said.
She said the industry is regulated by the national building code for a reason, and highlighted that a national task force struck down the idea of mandatory automatic sprinkler systems in 2019.
“This is a classic example of not enough consultation with the appropriate experts in terms of bringing in policy that impacts housing dramatically,” Guerette said.
“I’m sorry there’s no municipality in Saskatchewan that can replicate that process right now in an effective, cost efficient way.”
It’s expected mandatory fire sprinkler systems would add around $5,000 to new residential builds in some scenarios.
Mayor Sandra Masters said the amount of pushback from industry stakeholders helped educate council in its vote. Evidence shows new builds and new neighbourhoods are less likely to experience house fires, she said.
“Safety is of paramount importance,” Masters said.
“There’s already a commitment within the Fire Master Plan to educate and work with homebuilders to talk about educating new home buyers about the opportunity to install sprinklers.”
City statistics show 10 people died in house fires from 2017 to 2021. None of those fires were in new builds.
ARCOLA AVENUE CORRIDOR STUDY
City council unanimously passed a motion in favour of the Arcola Avenue Corridor study.
The Arcola Avenue corridor study laid out a sweeping list of proposed improvements to roadways in the southeast part of Regina that would amount to a total estimated cost of around $76 million.
Two recommendations from administration were discussed in regard to the study.
The first was that council would direct administration to include a consultant’s long term recommendations in future planning of the project.
The second was having administration bring a supplementary report to council during the next budget consideration.
That would include planning to redistribute $42.3 million from long to medium term project planning to speed up the process of the project and also possible financial implications that could come with speeding up the project.
Between 2016 and 2020 there were 639 collisions reported to police on Arcola Ave. between Park St. and Chuka Blvd.
Jack Huntington, a spokesperson for a number of housing units that back onto Prince of Wales Drive, addressed council on Wednesday.
He said the group opposes the extension of Prince of Wales Drive.
“We believe that this is an expensive option that has significant obstacles that would need to be dealt with before any approval should be considered,” Huntington said.
Huntington said there would be a number of long-term consequences to extending roadways near residential communities, such as noise and pollution and that it would negatively affect the resale of properties in the future.
The roadway extension would also conflict with the McKell Wascana Conservation Park, which is a large undisturbed nature reserve, he added.
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