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Castor council debates pros, cons of sea cans

Castor town council decided at their Feb. 24 regular meeting to examine how other

communities handle sea cans in residential areas, after a local resident asked the town to

approve them for storage use.

Councilors read a letter from resident Lorne Dewart, who stated sea cans, large, metal

storage units nowadays popular with landowners, have more benefits than drawbacks.

“I would like to ask Castor town council to consider amending the Land Use Bylaw to allow for

the discretionary use of Storage Structures in Residential Areas specifically Sea Cans,” stated

Dewart’s letter.

“Sea cans can provide landowners cost effective, excellent storage for a wide variety of of

items from the storage of vehicles and parts, woodworking materials, motor bikes and ATVs;

almost anything because they provide a fire safe, weatherproof, rodent-free dry storage. They

are a great place to store items that would otherwise be deemed unsightly.

“They are safe and secure which is also a major benefit given the increased break and enter

thefts in our area.

“Sea cans can also be altered to blend into their surroundings by painting to match existing

buildings, use of fencing or screens can also be used so as to make them more aesthetically


Dewart pointed out he isn’t the only Castor resident with a sea can in his yard. “Currently to

my knowledge there are four to six sea cans located in residential areas of Castor already. By

allowing discretionary use council can ensure that all cans are meeting a Sea Can standard,

placed appropriately on the property and have an approved Development Permit in place for


Dewart was correct when he wrote sea cans are forbidden in residential areas of Castor;

councilors mentioned this point several times at the meeting. Dewart also asked council to

hold off on enforcement while they considered his request.

Town manager Christopher Robblee noted sea cans are not allowed in residential

neighbourhoods, but are allowed in residential estates. They’re also permitted in zones such

as industrial.

Councilor Lonny Nelner pointed out sea cans have some special issues associated with them,

such as they meet no building codes and, since they’re made of metal, they can seriously

inhibit emergency personnel in the event of a fire.

Councilor Tony Nichols said he sympathized with Dewart. “I don’t see where they’re much of

an eyesore,” said Nichols. He said there are some garages around Castor that look worse

than a sea can.

“I think we should change the bylaw,” said Nichols.

Councilor Brenda Wismer disagreed, noting she felt sea cans look “unsightly.”

Councilor Nelner said he agreed with Dewart’s statement the sea cans can be painted to

blend in with the neighbourhood and guidelines would be needed.

Councilor Rod Zinger said sea cans seem to have a lot of problems associated with them,

including the ability to stack them on top of each other.

Mayor Richard Elhard agreed with Nichols, noting sea cans have been in town for a long time.

Councilor Kevin McDougall suggested tabling the issue until Robblee has time to investigate

other jurisdiction’s handling of sea cans. Councilors unanimously agreed.

Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review