Edmonton Infill Police

Edmonton Infill Police Looking After Residential Development and Residents

Consisting of peace officers, development officers and safety codes inspectors, Edmonton’s infill police have been operating since July 2016. Until the beginning of November, they have inspected over 300 properties under construction.

Their job is to ensure that builders maintain their construction sites clean, tidy and fenced. To date, they have issued more than 100 fines and nearly 400 warnings. The police discovered 61 infill properties without a development permit or in violation of the issued permit. The builders responsible will have to modify the homes or halt their activity and obtain a new permit.

As the infill police have been operating for a relatively short time now, a major part of their work is to educate builders, owners and other parties involved in the residential development process. Their main goal is to bring major improvement to construction practices and bring down the stress for neighbours.

Resolving Drainage Issues

One of the most common complaints over the past few years has been drainage. New infill houses were responsible for flooding the properties of neighbours. The reason was the lack of lot-grading plans filed with the city.

The solution turned out to be simple - the submission of lot-grading plans became mandatory a year ago. Almost all infill projects now have such plans.

Despite the greater rainfall in 2016 compared to 2015, the lot-grading complaints have dropped by 284.

Education Is Key

Since this summer, builders can take advantage of special meetings with city staff, sometimes including representatives of multiple departments, before even applying for a permit. These meetings are free for all infill projects.

Upon the issuing of their permit, builders are required to sign a form for acknowledgement of all applicable regulations, covering issues from dirt and noise to traffic blocking. They must also hang information signs including their contact details and send postcards to neighbours describing the temporary changes about to take place.

With the start of the online permit application service, residents are expected to have direct access to more information on the city’s designated website - maps.edmonton.ca.

Another measure for ensuring compliance is the increase in fines for construction without a permit. The first offence rose to $1000 from $400 in 2015. Final inspections before the completion of the project have also been introduced.  

Protecting Trees and Stricter Excavation Regulations

Tree damage during construction work has become increasingly common over the past few years, with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues being among the main whistleblowers. Beautiful ash and elm trees end up with broken branches and damaged trunks as a result of crane activity. Tree roots are blocked by compacted soil.

The current regulations protect only tree trunks, but this is expected to change in 2017 with the introduction of the proposed fencing rules designed to safeguard the roots and the canopy as well.

Another current issue is the great proximity of excavation to existing houses. On many occasions, digging is right next to the property line and fences and sidewalks are practically destroyed.

The debate on this problem is expected next spring.

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