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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Building Code Commission hearing, Dec.12, 2019

The hearing was held at 777 Bay Street, 16th floor.

There were 3 commissioners plus 11 others at the conference table -- the property owner, two architects and an engineer for the appellant; two representatives from Toronto Buildings, one engineer from Toronto Fire, plus three reps from the Province's Ministry of Housing. Ranged along the walls were 21 others -- mostly architects and builders.

The commission chair said they have before them 4 documents (one of which he said is a Human Rights document).

Their hearings are specific to one place, not general. The address is 349 Manning.

The appellant's case was put by David Hine, an fire code engineer retained by the architectural firm hired by the owner. He said that if the OBC was applied the same way for rural areas or cottages as for Toronto, no dwellings could be built there. He said in Ontario we therefore have a two-tier system. Said that the rules are NOT the same in other provinces. 349 Manning is 53 meters from where the fire trucks would stop, not the required 45 meters. He wanted to show a photo of the laneway but that was regarded as new evidence and might not be permitted. However the respondents said it was okay, so the assistant went and made colour photocopies to circulate (only among the people at the table).

He said that because of this additional distance, the city refused the option of the owner installing sprinklers at the laneway house.

He said the laneway is not accepted as an emergency access -- there might be cars parked illegally, there's no snow ploughing, lanes might not be known to firefighters so they can't locate the fire. Hines said that there are other ways to locate a fire e.g. by the smoke. Says the Manning laneway is 3.6 meters wide.

Respondent from Buildings said that even though the specific requirements are not in the OBC, "we apply what firefighters require." Every answer she gave was deflected back to the needs of "firefighters."

Respondent from Fire said that the particulars of the rules are laid out in a Memorandum of Understanding between Buildings and Fire. He did not have that with him and seemed to be unsure whether the document was public.

Respondent form Ministry of Housing said the building code is "performance-based" rather than...? Gave an example of fire fighters needing able to get there without delay but could give no definition of what would constitute an unacceptable delay.

At the end, the chair said that an oral decision would come the week after the hearing, followed by a written decision weeks or longer later.

Content last modified on February 12, 2020, at 03:54 PM EST