Shipping Containers

Shipping containers are prohibited in all residential neighbourhoods in Whistler, with the exception of limited temporary use for active construction projects with a building permit, moving, and some special events.

Shipping containers may be placed on industrial, commercial, institutional and resource use lands, and must comply with the municipal zoning bylaw and existing Building and Fire Code regulations. 

Prohibited Zones

Shipping containers are prohibited in all of the following zones:

  • Residential Zones under Part 12 of Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015;
  • Multiple Residential Zones under Part 13 of Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015;
  • Tourist Accommodation Zones under Part 15 of Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015;
  • Tourist Pension Zones under Part 16 of Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015; and
  • Lands North Zones under Part 17 of Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015.

 To search the zoning for properties in Whistler use the Whistler Map.

Allowable Uses and Areas

Shipping containers may be placed:

  • In industrial, commercial, institutional and resource use areas such as Function Junction and Nesters Crossing subject to complying with the permitted uses, site coverage and setback regulations of the applicable zoning and any development permit requirements;
  • Temporarily on construction sites if a building permit has been issued and the shipping container is removed once construction is completed, stopped or the building permit expires;
  • Temporarily on any parcel or the highway for construction or repair to public infrastructure; and
  • Temporarily on any parcel or the highway for a municipally-approved special event.

A single container may also be placed on a parcel for no more than 14 days to load/unload goods to permanently relocate a residential or commercial use. The moving enterprise must display their name on the container and hold both a business license and provincial commercial transport license.

Specific Requirements and Safety Features

Shipping containers are designed for overseas storage and shipping of material, equipment and hazardous material. If the container is used for anything other than storage it must meet, or exceed, all relevant requirements of BC Safety Codes, including BC Fire and Electric codes. The maximum permitted size of a shipping container is 8 feet x 40 feet x 8 feet high.

Standard environmental vents normally built into shipping containers are not acceptable as ventilation openings for land-based storage applications. These were designed for air movement based upon atmospheric weather changes only and do not provide adequate air flow. Venting is required in all shipping containers to reduce the risk of explosion.  No services are to be provided to a shipping container except a maximum of 30 amperes of electricity connected with a weather proof extra-hard usage power supply cord and installed in accordance with the electrical requirements for factory-built re-locatable structures defined in the 2015 BC Electrical Code. 

The following safety features must be present to comply with fire regulations:

  • one ventilation opening within 150 mm of the floor in the container door primarily used for opening
  • one ventilation opening within 150 mm from the top of the container on the opposite end from the doors for cross ventilation
  • the high ventilation opening cannot be directly venting toward a structure
  • neither ventilation opening can be obstructed by stored materials at any time and must be kept clear of internal and external debris

The additional ventilation openings must be constructed based upon the following minimums:

  • Two – 0.3 m X 0.3 m openings for containers 6m or less
  • Two – 0.5 m X 0.5 m openings for containers over 6m
  • both openings will be covered by open grate wire mesh with greater than 50% free area
  • alternate engineered solutions will be considered.

Review Zoning and Parking Bylaw No. 303, 2015.


Planning Department

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