Bubbar defends staff as business plans petition
A small downtown business owner has decided to start a petition he hopes will change practices at city hall after spending thousands of dollars to install equipment into his restaurant he didn’t need.
Trevor Cesarone said he wants to change the mentality of the city’s building-inspection department and plans to take his concerns to city council.
KTW reported Cesarone, who owns Papa Tee’s Pizzeria on Victoria Street, was forced by the building-inspection department to install expensive ventilation equipment to deal with grease-laden vapours in order to get his business licence.
Though he indicated he would only be making soups and sauces, Cesarone was told by the building inspector he would need the ventilation system.
He complied and had the system installed, which added up to more than $50,000 and delayed the opening of the business by almost a year.
Following the KTW story, Cesarone met with the city’s chief building inspector Kundan Bubbar, and learned the equipment wasn’t necessary.
During the meeting, he was told if he had any concerns during the process, he should have spoken to Bubbar personally.
Cesarone called the process confusing and believes it is scaring people away from starting their own business.
“It’s just mind-boggling the way they can just determine their own set of rules for each individual,” Cesarone said.
He said the lesson is to question any direction by the building-inspection department.
“There are different answers in there,” Cesarone said, noting he has spoken to other individuals and businesses who support his petition.
However, Bubbar defended his staff and the role of the inspection department, maintaining employees are always “walking on a thin line.”
He said inspectors help out clients as much as they can, but try not to be consultants.
Bubbar said the role of the inspector is to provide answers to people based on the questions being asked, adding in some cases people don’t ask the right questions.
Cesarone had also suggested several restaurants in town are cooking without the proper systems, but the fire department, which is in charge of such inspections, found no evidence.
Bubbar said he is confident if any restaurant is breaking the law, it will eventually be caught.