Screening fences provide a visual shield between private residences and public spaces. They can also enhance the aesthetic appeal of a community, ensure privacy and deter undesired access to private properties. The responsibility of screening fence maintenance varies depending upon where the fence is located. A Voluntary Access Easement Agreement has been created to assist community groups looking to maintain a fence located on private property.
Screening fences are not noise attenuation fences. Noise attenuation fences are installed next to high traffic roads when traffic noise exceeds Calgary thresholds.
Screening fences first appeared in Calgary subdivisions during the late 1970s and are typically constructed with either wood, stucco, concrete, brick and/or stone. Currently there are over 200 kilometres of screening fences in Calgary and approximately 75 per cent of them are located on private property.
Screening fence maintenance
Regular maintenance can extend the life of a screening fence and help retain the aesthetic appeal of a community. With a little regular upkeep, a typical screening fence can last up to 25 years. This upkeep can also help in retaining the aesthetic appeal of a community as screening fences are often the first thing seen by people driving or walking by.
Maintenance typically involves painting and replacing damaged boards.
Residents can contact the Roads Maintenance Division via 311 to request specifications of the original fence structure.
This may be helpful if property owners are considering regular maintenance or reconstruction of their fencing. Changes to a screening fence may include:
- General repairs to brick, concrete or stucco fences.
- Modifying fence height.
- Changing fence location.
- Considering an alternate fencing material.
The City of Calgary is responsible for maintaining screening fences located on public property. This work is managed by the Roads Business Unit’s Maintenance Division.
Maintenance of screening fences located on private property is the responsibility of the property owner as indicated in Community Standards Bylaw 5M2004.
Maintenance by community groups and Voluntary Access Easements
Community groups wanting to maintain or improve their community aesthetic or maintain continuity of their fencing may need to gain lawful access to private properties where screening fences have been damaged or have not been regularly maintained. To address this issue, The City has created a Voluntary Access Easement Agreement, which assists community groups in gaining access to screening fences on private property for maintenance or reconstruction purposes.
The Voluntary Access Easement Agreement is an agreement made between The City and the property owner. Community groups who wish to maintain a screening fence on private property and learn more about the Voluntary Access Easement Agreement process must therefore contact The City via 311.
Community groups interested in maintaining screening fences may obtain copies of easement agreements from The City for distribution to property owners. Completed agreements can then be submitted to The City for registration.
The Process to Register Voluntary Access Easements entails:
- Contacting the Calgary Land Titles Office to conduct a title search to determine ownership of the properties of interest
- Obtaining copies of the Voluntary Access Easement Agreement by contacting 311
- Distributing the agreements to affected property owners
- Submitting signed agreements to The City for registration
Details about the land titles process, fees and contact information may be found through the Calgary Land Titles Office.
Screening fence maintenance costs
Costs for maintenance of screening fences on private properties are the responsibility of the property owner. However, if a community group wishes to conduct maintenance on screening fences they may contribute as their funds and/or resources permit.
The City is now asking developers to register standard access easements on all new properties with screening fences. This will allow The City, or its agents, to gain access to these properties in future if screening fence maintenance is needed.
Contact Roads (Maintenance Division) via 311 to obtain further information about:
- Maintenance of screening fences on City property
- Voluntary Access Easement Agreements
- Screening fence specifications used by your community
- Standard access easements