Wood scraps

Last week, we exclusively reported provincial fire servies associations, the Structural Engineers Association of British Columbia and American local government officials have raised serious concerns about the government's decision to allow five and six storey buildings. But they're not the only ones speaking out. In an interview with The Times Colonist's Richard Watts, the City of Victoria's development and regulatory service manager Ron North predicted problems with those buildings. And the city's fire chief Doug Angrove said he's been "a little off-guard" by the change, questioning whether water flows from the street will be sufficient to tackle a fire in a six storey wood-frame building.

Meanwhile, The Georgia Straight's Carlito Pablo reported those buildings may "leave future home buyers wet." The reason: according to Metro Vancouver Planning Coalition director Richard Balfour, "The risk of leaky walls from wind driven rain is multiplied with eposure to greater heights."

And The Province's Christina Montgomery has stated those buildings could also be noisy. "Using wood is a good idea," she opined. "But I don't see why you'd make it possible to build all this new housing, if new housing ever starts being built again, without thinking about what you're doing. If you're going to stick communities all over B.C. with condos built of wood, why not enact the appropriate noise controls? Surely someone could figure out how to require some sort of noise baffling in the things. Surely someone could do better than creating a whole lot of homes that are hard to live in and that are going to be hard to live in for a long time.

"I don't see why you wouldn't think about that. Unless, of course, you're one of the lucky people tucked into a private home. Or a concrete condo."

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