A Toronto faith-based organization that operates a social camp in Muskoka is the latest entity to face stiff penalties as a result of Fire Code infractions in Gravenhurst.
“Societa Unita” plead guilty today in Provincial Offences Court to three counts of “Failing to Comply with Inspection Orders”, following an investigation by the Gravenhurst Fire Department that occurred between August and October of last year. The organization was ordered to pay $27,000.00 in fines, plus associated costs.
“In July, last year, the Town’s Building and Fire Departments received a referral of a complaint from the Electrical Safety Authority about possible building and fire code violations at Camp Teopoli located on Housey’s Rapids Road in Gravenhurst,” said Larry Brassard, Gravenhurst Fire Chief.
“As a result, both Departments worked closely together over the span of several months to inspect a number of buildings on the property, and ultimately the Fire Department issued a series of inspection orders to address violations of the Ontario Fire Code that were unearthed,” he added.
“As is standard practice, several months were allocated for the work to be completed, however, when the Fire Department discovered that various elements of the orders had not been acted upon, charges were initiated. Our inspector made repeated follow up inquiries and noted that the operators of the camp had indeed completed and corrected several of the deficiencies that had been noted, while others had not been addressed at all,” said the Chief.
“Even today, elements of the original inspection orders have not been adequately addressed. In the wake of these fines, our inspectors will be re-visiting the premises and conducting follow-up inspections,” said Brassard. The possibility of additional charges being laid against the owners of the property have not be ruled out.
“This is a perfect example of how Town staff are making sure that the residents and visitors of Gravenhurst are safe in the buildings that they enter. Fire and Building departments working closely together to ensure this happens is the key to this success,” said Andy Jones, Chief Building Official for the Town.
Brassard suggested that the courts have acknowledged the seriousness of Fire Code enforcement issues in recent years and points to a growing number of substantial fines in recent months as an indicator. Jail sentences for owners of properties cited for violation are now becoming more common-place in some circumstances as the legislation identifies the owners of the property as being ultimately responsible for the safety of their buildings.
“We’d prefer that these issues are properly addressed by property owners without the need to go to court, but sometimes this seems to be the only way to prompt the action that is necessary. Keeping our community safe is an imperative for those of us with enforcement as part of our mandate.”
Great team work by the GFD, ESA and the building inspector! The GFD appears to have gone above and beyond, giving this organization the time required to fix the issues! The reason we have inspectors in all aspects of construction is that people don’t COMPLY! The judicial side of the procedure is waking up to the fact that these inspectors are doing their job. In the past inspectors concerns where not being addressed and PEOPLE where dieing in fires! Simple solution, LISTEN people! GFD AND INSPECTORS here have saved a life and could have been your child or loved one! Hats off to the GFD, and all inspectors involved here and thanks for sending the message here to people that just think the local inspectors are just a joke! NOT happening in Muskoka!
Furthermore to my above comment. If this organization appeals this conviction and I was the judge and jury here, I would double the fine! Quiet wasting the courts time and my taxpayers money!