Back in the summer of 2010, our quiet little street in North Kildonan was besieged during the start of construction on a dozen or so new homes.
The garden at the end of our block was transformed into a continuation of the street and joined onto McIvor Avenue with houses planned for both sides of that continuation. Our street became twice as long as a result.
Some of my neighbours were concerned, as was I, about the mess that was scattered around the roadside and "tossed" onto properties.
I phoned 311 to complain after the builder said, "It was likely the neighbourhood kids who were making the mess!" Not only was this unsightly, but with foundations dug out and boards with nails lying around, it was dangerous for these kids.
I had seen some building sites with wood and wire cages designed to contain construction debris. I couldn’t understand why these cages weren’t utilized on our street.
When I first spoke with someone at city hall they advised me that this was a construction zone and one should expect a mess. I reminded them that this was also a residential area and that out of respect for those people already living on the street, something should be done to maintain the area during this construction.
This issue was never resolved in 2010 and the buck was passed from one city department to another and I started my campaign once again in the spring of 2011. I had already given up on the builder doing anything and I pursued this matter once again through 311 and my city councillor.
A private builder on the street began building a home which was completely fenced off with absolutely no access to anyone except the builder. He also parked a huge cage on the property and all of the debris, throughout the construction of this house, was contained within. What a great example.
I called upon one of our city inspectors to come out and see for himself how neatly a house can actually be built. I also called Coun. Jeff Browaty, who had his staff do some research for me and discovered that there are laws already in place for builders to maintain their building sites via the use of these cages. At that point there were two cages on the street. One was collapsed and the other over filled.
Finally after almost two summers of putting up with this mess, an order was issued to comply with "clean-up directions" and shortly thereafter, last fall to be precise, our street was finally clean.
If you are living in these conditions be aware that you have rights and there are laws out there to protect you — they just need to be enforced.
Rick Sparling is a North Kildonan-based writer.
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