The town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay is starting to crack down on residents who utilize old shipping containers as storage sheds on their residential properties.

Council calls the containers eyesores, but residents using them say they come in handy.

Monica Surina bought one of the containers from a contractor a month ago and uses it as a storage shed, but the town says the containers devalue property and aren't permitted.

Monica Surina shipping containers as sheds

Monica Surina says residents should be able to repurpose old shipping containers as sheds on their properties of they see fit and take proper care of them. (CBC)

"Now the town has come out and said that they're going to be enforcing the bylaw and all that sort of thing, and again I take exception to that because what we put into our yards — if it's nice and clean and neat and tidy, it should be acceptable," said Surina.

"The town should be embracing the idea of having containers around. It's another option for housing." 

There has been an influx of shipping containers available in the area, thanks to items being shipped to the Muskrat Falls construction site.

Some people argue these containers can be retrofitted and utilized in other ways.

Repurpose old containers

In Toronto, similar containers are repurposed as food stands and green houses, while in Europe they're made into apartment buildings, student housing, and increasingly, worldwide, as private homes.

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Coun. Bert Pomeroy

Happy Valley-Goose Bay Coun. Bert Pomeroy says he doesn't believe residents want to look out from their properties and see shipping containers used in their neighbours' yards. (CBC)

For a town that's strapped for housing, some say these containers could be useful, but the town council doesn't want to see them sitting in yards.

Coun. Bert Pomeroy said he doesn't want to see them in yards in his neighbourhood.

"With projects like Muskrat Falls, more and more shipping containers will be coming in and through the community and they will end up in the community, popping up all over town. Is that something that residents want to see? Do residents want to see shipping containers in their neighbours' yards?" said Pomeroy

"We're trying to be proactive and get ahead of the game so that we don't get into a situation where we have all kinds of unpermitted uses."

The town is only issuing warnings now and hopes to ticket later, and residents who want to use them as sheds or housing will have to follow national building code standards.