Welland property owner fined $12,500 for creating apartments in commercial building

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Published April 26, 2023 at 10:46 am

Google Street of 69 Southworth Street in Welland.

In the end, it was the Welland Fire Department that came down hard on a property owner who had created residential apartments in a commercial building, fining him $12,500 for fire safety violations.

Back in January 2022, the fire prevention officers (FPOs) discovered the commercial building at 69 Southworth St. had been converted into apartments without any permits, zoning changes, necessary construction – nothing that the city insists upon when making changes of this magnitude.

However, the FPOs’ biggest concern was that none of the units had working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.

To that end, they slapped the owner with “an inspection order pursuant to the Fire Protection and Prevention
Act (FPPA), ordering the property owner to cease using these units as apartments and obtain the necessary permits to lawfully and safely create these apartments.”

The order came with a compliance date and when they returned in September 2022, nothing had changed on the property.

The owner was then charged for failing to comply with the FPOs’ inspection order and landed in court.

On April 13, the property owner was convicted and fined $12,500, including court costs and fine victim surcharge in Provincial Offences Court. This was on top of a fine of $5,000 registered against the same owner in August 2022 due to the missing smoke and carbon monoxide alarms discovered at the property during the initial inspection.

The Welland Fire and Emergency Services (WFES) is now consulting with the Office of the Ontario Fire Marshal (OFM) regarding the next steps to be taken at this property.

“(The) WFES would like to remind residents that compliance with the Fire Code is always mandatory,” they added in a release.

“If a property owner or occupant receives an inspection order, it is mandatory to comply with the order before the compliance date. WFES wants to remind residents, particularly landlords, that Fire Code deficiencies will not be tolerated.”

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