Members of Regina’s executive committee voted in favour of a motion on Wednesday that would require fire sprinklers in all new residential dwellings.
Ward 10 Councillor Landon Mohl put forward the motion to implement the sprinkler mandate. The committee favoured the motion, with only two votes against it.
The executive committee spent several hours on Wednesday going over various topics on their agenda. They made it clear that making new residences safer was a priority, as they heavily debated the costs and implications of mandating sprinklers in all new residential builds.
The committee heard from five delegations advocating for the need for sprinklers, citing safety and the prevention of deaths as vital reasons. Regina fire chief Layne Jackson was also a prominent voice in favour of the sprinklers, saying sprinklers save lives.
“What a sprinkler system does is it activates when a fire is still in its small stages and it’ll either extinguish it and most often control it and what that does is it prevents the building of any toxic smoke and gases and the fire itself,” Jackson said.
Stu Niebergall, president and CEO of the Regina & Region Home Builders’ Association was the only delegation opposing the sprinkler mandate. He argued that mandatory sprinklers in new builds would drive housing prices up.
Affordability was one thing the committee took into account when voting on the mandate. Mayor Sandra Masters was one of the two votes against the mandate and says she kept residents in mind.
“We’ve heard from industry from both sides, but we haven’t heard from residents,” Masters said. “So when it comes to housing affordability, I do know that that is the number one issue for the city of Regina residents. So this is attaching to the affordability that can have some significant implications in the community.”
Administration has now been instructed to develop the bylaw. Once approved at the provincial level, it is expected to come into effect January 2023.