A new licensing program and possible fines may be on the way to ensure Winnipeg infill home construction doesn’t make a mess or pose a safety hazard.
The city's public service will start consultations on a possible licensing program for contractors who demolish residential or commercial buildings, if council approves a new proposal.
The potential changes would also require building permits for single-family and two-family infill construction to have official Manitoba land surveyors inspect the site once a foundation is in place to ensure the build complies with approved plans before further development occurs.
"Residential infill is occurring with increasing frequency... As demolition and construction take place, it can cause disruption to neighbouring properties if not carried out in a manner that is professional and in compliance with applicable regulations and bylaws," a public service report notes.
The City of Winnipeg is also developing a new list of fines for building permit offences that council is expected to consider this spring.
The proposed fine for failing to keep a construction or demolition site safe would be $500, which could be issued each day an offence occurs, the report notes.
Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface) called for ways to crack down on messy and/or unsafe infill construction sites last fall, noting he has received complaints about some builders dumping construction materials, failing to install proper fences around excavation sites, and even stealing water from neighbouring homes.
"Getting this (licensing) consultation going will allow us to identify… the hot spots that we should really be focusing on," he said.
The complaints appear to be triggered by just a few builders, but must be addressed, he said.
"Infill (investment) is vital to the environmental and fiscal sustainability of our city… (But) I think there were legitimate concerns being raised by residents and this is one way to make infill better," he said.
If council approves the changes, a builder would be required to correct any foundation that deviates from approved plans, while a deviation could also lead a building permit to be cancelled.
Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.