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Edmonton bylaw officers finding infill builders doing a better job

File photo of an infill development in Edmonton's Malmo Plains neighbourhood.
File photo of an infill development in Edmonton's Malmo Plains neighbourhood. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

Bylaw officers who monitor the infill housing projects in Edmonton’s mature neighbourhoods say they’re getting more cooperation now that the program is well-established.

This is the third year the Infill Compliance Team will be carrying out inspections. In, 2017 there were 1,654 inspections where the city identified 910 infill-related infractions. Out of those, 547 verbal and written warnings were issued and 354 tickets were handed out, as well as nine stop work orders.

That’s a 130 per cent increase in inspections over the team’s inaugural construction season in 2016.

“I know for a fact the builders talk about our enforcement practices between one another,” officer Kevin Tomalty said at a news conference on Thursday.

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“They know that we’re around. Our truck is branded: “Infill Enforcement.” So it’s very visible in the community and then obviously when you have neighbours or complainants who see our truck or our members in the community, they’re going to be more inclined to call 311 and reporting those concerns.”

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READ MORE: Massive two-lot infill home in south Edmonton ‘an anomaly’

The most common concerns are that infill developers are storing building materials on the road or boulevard without a permit, or that they didn’t get permission to run motorized equipment across the boulevard or sidewalk.

“Infill-related construction infractions under the traffic bylaw were the most common, representing 60 per cent of tickets issued,” said Lyla Peter, the city’s director of development and zoning services.

“We see that with sites that do have these permits in place, for the most part, the violation numbers are a lot less because it’s written in stone what they can and can not have and they follow the process,” Tomalty said.

“Ultimately, I think that most builders want to maintain a reputation — they’re advertising in the community so they want to do a better job.”

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READ MORE: Edmonton anticipating most successful infill construction season yet: city

The team has set a standard of responding to a complaint within four days. Tomalty said they don’t accomplish that every time, however, he said they have “a pretty good track record.”

“We find that we work rather well with complainants and builders to find a peaceful resolution to any of the issues that they do have. Ultimately, yes, sometimes it does result in enforcement action but hopefully, with education and enforcement, we can bring about happiness I guess.”

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When tickets are handed out, they range from $50 for parking illegally, to $250 and in some cases $500 under the traffic bylaw. Serious infractions that wind up in court can see fines as high as $10,000 be levelled.

READ MORE: By the numbers: 2 years into Edmonton’s infill housing process

Watch below: On Jan. 18, 2017, Vinesh Pratap filed this report about the City of Edmonton planning to refine the rules when it comes to building new homes alongside the old.

Progress report on Edmonton infill development
Progress report on Edmonton infill development