Lawn regulations could be on the way for Regina

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Lawn regulations could be on the way for Regina
With plenty of new homes shooting up around the city, some residents are concerned about one part of the job that isn't getting done- lawns. Now council is looking into potential landscaping regulations. Cami Kepke has more – Aug 30, 2018

It’s a jungle out there, according to a Regina city councillor.

The city says it’s received a dramatic increase of calls about out-of-control weeds and untidy yards. Now the city is considering implementing landscaping regulations, following in the steps of other cities like Calgary.

“No one is asking for draconian regulations,” City Councillor Bob Hawkins, who brought the issue before council, said. “This is not the heavy hand of government. It’d be some sort of minimalist regulation that basically says keep your yard free of weeds and keep your yard from becoming overgrown.”

The Regina Home Builders’ Association says the intention is good, but the city may be better off focusing on current bylaws regarding weeds.

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“There are some issues that need to be resolved, but the city does have a tool in place today to resolve that problem,” association president Stu Niebergall said. “It’s probably a better solution than trying to put a whole set of regulations around landscaping to really solve what is a weed problem.”

One of the emerging issues is enforcement. Under a bylaw, it would be up to the city to lay down the law.

On the other side, new guidelines for developers could be put in place, setting up a deposit system with builders.

“For the city it means we don’t need to have a bylaw regulation enforcement regime, the regime is built into the cost of owning a home,” Hawkins added. “If you do own a home, you have to be able to look after your yard. It’s part of being a good neighbour.”

Niebergall says a deposit system could drive up mortgages for home buyers- but he also believes much of the problem will take care of itself.

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“The developers either have or already are putting in agreements with their builders for front landscaping to be part of the process,” Niebergall noted. “The issues are really in some of the subdivisions at the end of their development where some of these builder agreements weren’t in place.”

However, the pair agree two to three years is a reasonable time frame for new builds to have some landscaping in place.

“Give a two year time period for that land to settle and be ready, add another year for timing reasons. If in another year the individual property owner hasn’t landscaped that land, use the bylaws in place or create a bylaw to address that with the individual property owner,” Niebergall suggested.

A report on the matter will be finished and presented to council by the end of December.

New landscaping rules- if they’re adopted- could be in place by summer of 2019.

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