70 beds found in chalet 

Brio lodging issued fire commissioner order

Whistler’s Eagle Nest Chalet in Brio was issued a B.C. Fire Commissioner’s order after an inspection revealed that the residence contains 70 beds and is not up to fire code standards.

"During the investigation of a complaint we found there were some discrepancies in how the building was being used, and under section 21B of the Fire Services Act we entered the building to confirm the complaint," says Assistant Fire Chief Rob Whitton.

The Whistler Fire Department received a complaint from an undisclosed source that people were sleeping in the attic of the residence, which goes against the fire code. In October, fire department officials visited the home to confirm that the report was valid.

They conducted a formal inspection on Nov. 18, and found 24 beds in the attic, separated by cloth curtains. They found seven other sleeping rooms as well, with seven to 10 beds per room.

It appeared that between eight and 10 beds were currently occupied.

"Basically, the amount of people that are living in the home constitutes a problem for egress travelways and pathways, the non-conforming stairways and exit sizes for the number of people actually living – or who could possibly live – in the building," says Whitton.

After consulting with the Fire Commission Office in Victoria, the Whistler Fire Department issued a formal order to the property owner to discontinue renting beds and return the building to a single family dwelling, which is how it is zoned.

According to Whitton, no warrant was required for the Nov. 18 inspection.

"The local assistant to the fire commissioner, which I am, has to believe that there’s a threat to life and property in the event of a fire, and we were there to confirm that this was so. It was found to be so, then we did a further full inspection of the property," he said.

"What the order is, it puts the onus on the owner of the property to correct these deficiencies."

Whitton says it was the first Fire Commissioner’s Order he has served in Whistler, and possibly the first order in the history of the department.

According to the order, the owner of the property has 10 days to appeal the order by making a submission to the Fire Commission Office, in which case the office will send over another inspector to look at the property.

If the property owner does not comply with the order, the Fire Commission will make an application to the provincial crown council to pursue charges against the owner for failing to comply with the Fire Services Act and the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

"It will probably result in the people who are renting being asked to leave the property, because what we are trying to do is have the home returned to its original use, which is that of a single family dwelling," says Whitton.

According to a contract for the residence, Quo Vadis Enterprises, in association with Whistler’s Eagle Nest Chalet.com Inc. charges $538 per person based on double occupancy, or $680 per person for a single bed.

Pique attempted to contact the owner of the property, but did not receive a reply by press time.

The property was recently in the local news when charges were laid in connection with the alleged feeding of bears. Some of the bears were destroyed by the RCMP.

Rico Suchy has been charged under the Wildlife Act for feeding and attracting wildlife.

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