Questions arise about occupancy permit orders

Two businesses that have been operating without occupancy permits in Mount Pearl are getting orders from council to comply with the City's municipal regulations, or else.

The first order pertains to D.W. Mechanical at 43 Sagona Avenue. Planning and Development committee chairperson Bill Antle said the company was provided a notice to comply with the rules by a City inspector back on June, but since then the City has not received verification that the Service NL requirements, which the City insists on before approving an occupancy, have been met.

"This is an issue with Service NL, which means more than likely it's safety or egress (issues)," said Mayor Dave Aker.

Similar circumstances apply to the other company, Engineered Pipe Group at 10 Panther Place.

Councillor Isabelle Fry asked whether the holdup on compliance has more to do with Service NL than the companies, in which case the City should delay issuing the orders, she suggested.

"You're possibly right," said the City's Manager of Planning and Development, Catherine Howell. But she added, it usually doesn't take this long for Service NL to follow-up and make sure a business is complying with its regulations.

"The onus is on the applicant, not on Service NL to make sure it (compliance) happens, right?" Mayor Aker asked Howell.

"There is a process in place with the province in regards to fire and life safety and accessibility, so if the businesses are having issues with the province, sometimes there could be a delay there," Howell said. "I don't know the circumstances for these particular orders, but if we know the business has not followed up with Service NL, that could be the issue as well."

Fry said she is concerned about possibly penalizing businesses when the problem might be due to red tape at another government agency. "Have we been in contact with these businesses?" she asked. "Are they aware that is what we need?"

Howell said the businesses would definitely be aware that they need approvals from Service NL to operate.

"Service NL requirements have to be met, otherwise the City is in a very vulnerable spot if we don't ultimately remind the applicant that those requirements have to be met in terms of safety, egress and all the other requirements that Service Newfoundland and Labrador addresses," Aker said.

Howell added City inspectors can't issue an occupancy permit until there is either approval or an exemption to the rules issued by the provincial department.

Aker concluded the debate by noting that while the orders have been ratified by council, members would still like to get some paperwork on the history of the interactions between the businesses and the City.

Posted on December 13, 2018 .