News Local

Missing addresses a hazard: expert

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Many homes in Electoral A have no addresses. (SUBMITTED)

Many homes in Electoral A have no addresses. (SUBMITTED)

Some rural areas around the Lower Mainland have no requirement to post house numbers at private residences — leading to confusion for emergency responders and the like.

Now, there’s a new bylaw being proposed that would require homeowners in Electoral Area A to put up house numbers. The electoral area is an area just north of urban Metro Vancouver, stretching from Pitt Lake to the coast.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that has value and that it assists emergency services,” said the area’s director, Maria Harris.

“The question I have with my staff is whether compliance can remain voluntary? Or whether we actually need to have a house numbering bylaw that includes not only that the number is displayed by house it’s displayed?”

Jody Robertson, spokeswoman for E-Comm 911 services, said a location for responders to attend is “the single most important aspect” of any emergency call.

“I’ve heard many emergency responders talk — in both rural and urban areas — about having highly visible address signs on their home,” she said.

“If a call is lost, if a signal is lost, they want to have an idea of where the caller is.”

Up until recently, some homes in Electoral Area A didn’t even have addresses, or road access, and Metro Vancouver has sent staff to designate addresses where none previously existed. Those who didn’t have addresses previously are expected to be notified by letter.

Steve Mark of the Integrated Cadastral Information Society said there are 554 “parcels” of land in the area — though it’s unclear whether all of those are individual residences.

His society is partnered with many local governments, Crown agencies and even the RCMP — 178 jurisdictions in total — to centralize much of the province’s addressing information.

The work aims to eliminate the traditional step of speaking to each individual jurisdiction for their addressing records. The data is refreshed weekly.

(This article was updated on Sept. 3, 2014 10:19 a.m.)


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