Days after 36 bodies were recovered from the site of a warehouse fire in Oakland, Calif., London’s top bylaw officer says safety is the top priority when it comes to zoning and other regulations on commercial properties.
The statement comes as city bylaw officials, in conjunction with the London Police Service, fire prevention office and Middlesex-London Health Unit, shut down an unlicensed music club on Quebec St., called the “J” Spot, on account of non-compliance with zoning and fire codes.
Authorities shut down the facility Tuesday, giving its operators orders to not reopen.
“The purpose of these multi-agency inspections is to protect the public,” says Chief Municipal Law Enforcement Officer Orest Katolyk. “We certainly understand that people would like to have fun, but, really, safety is paramount. There’s a municipal purpose behind building, zoning and fire codes. And that purposes is public safety. We certainly don’t want a repeat of Oakland, if we can prevent it.”
A Facebook page for the “J” Spot lists its purpose as “a place for get togethers,
The 560 Quebec St. warehouse is zoned for industrial use, rather than public assembly, a statement from the City of London says. With only one exit from the upstairs facility, fire evacuation would prove challenging.
Katolyk says that investigators found evidence of large gatherings, along with alcohol use, smoking, and candles, creating the potential for a tragic situation.
Any person who owns or uses any building in violation of the zoning by-law may be fined a maximum of $25,000 upon first conviction and $10,000 on subsequent convictions for each day the contravention continues.