Penticton says yes to business using razor wire to protect property - InfoNews

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Penticton says yes to business using razor wire to protect property

City Council looked at a variance request to allow razor wire along the top of a fence surrounding a commercial area business at today's council meeting, May 5, 2020.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ CIty of Penticton
May 06, 2020 - 7:20 AM

A Penticton business that ran afoul of city bylaws trying to protect its property found support from city council yesterday.

City staff recommended council deny a variance permit that would allow the owner of the property at 1384 Commercial Way to retain razor wire that was installed on the perimeter fencing of the lot, in contravention of city bylaws.

City staffer Blake Laven told council at its May 5 meeting the matter came to the attention of the city through a complaint.

The property is used by Warkentin Stucco and Acrylic Ltd to store materials and business vehicles.

Albert Warkentin provided a letter of intent to council, describing two thefts in recent years in which the company incurred more than $6,600 in damage and stolen property. He argued the wire is needed to protect the premises.

The razor wire sits on top of a board fence, at a height of six feet.

The City of Penticton doesn’t allow razor wire in any of its zonings. A staff report to council revealed other regional cities such as Kamloops has not addressed the issue, while Vernon prohibits its use.

Kelowna allows razor wire only associated with jails or penitentiaries, while West Kelowna allows it in one commercial zone.

Warkentin was originally given until Feb. 28 of this year to remove the wire but he submitted a variance application for exemption from the bylaw on a site specific basis.

City staff recommended turning down the variance for fear of setting a precedent for other businesses to do the same thing.

Staff also said the wire creates a negative perception , as well as safety concerns.

Council was divided in their response, with Coun. Katie Robinson insisting that allowing the variance would result in a tsunami of similar applications. She urged council to vote in favour of the staff recommendation.

But several councillors sided with the property owner, saying something had to be done to support businesses who were experiencing high crime rates in the city.

Coun. Julius Bloomfield said he didn't see the safety issue, as only someone trespassing and climbing the fence would encounter the wire.

Council voted to allow the variance, 4-3, with Jake Kimberley, Katie Robinson and Judy Sentes joining Bloomfield in favour.

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