Even during the current economic downturn, interest in new infill housing remains strong. While housing development brings investment and new families into our neighbourhoods, there are often challenges that come with construction.
Some of the most common calls to our office from communities experiencing redevelopment are about public property damage, noise, and unkempt sites during construction. While we have bylaws to deal with noise and site conditions, damage to public property is usually discovered after the fact.
The costs are significant. When we added up the damage to public trees, sidewalks, laneways, and roadways, we discovered there was an average of $163 in tree damage and $1,391 in concrete damage per infill site. Historically, The City has been on the hook for covering the costs. Between 2011 and 2015, contractor damage to public property cost Calgarians over $9 million.
This is why I put forward a motion to Council to ensure that contractors, not Calgarians, are responsible for covering all the costs of property damage. We are already seeing improvements and responsible contractors are working to prevent damage in the first place. The City’s new strategy has three parts:
• Increase oversight of construction sites and work with the construction industry to improve behaviour.
• Encourage all citizens and City employees to use the 311 service to track and measure damage.
• Require pre- and post-construction photographs of nearby City property including trees, sidewalks, laneways, and street signs. Please note: Similar documentation can be used to protect your own property if you live beside or behind a construction site.
This work will help save Calgarians millions and encourage infill developers to be good neighbours. You can help by reporting damage and other infill concerns. If you see unsafe construction sites, unkempt sites, noise bylaw violations, or property damage, please call 311 or report online at www.calgary.ca/311
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This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.