Edmonton to get proactive on infill development inspections

The City of Edmonton is heading in the right direction when it comes to infill development in mature neighbourhoods, says Bev Zubot, planning advisor with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues.

However, there are still too many infill inspections resulting from neighbours' complaints, she said.

"There has been improvement in the inspections, with some proactive inspections rather than relying 100 per cent on complaints," Zubot said Wednesday following an urban planning committee meeting at city hall.

In an effort to improve that, the committee voted to spend an additional $40,000 on clerical help so that compliance officers can be freed up to spend more time doing inspections.

"There will always be a need for compliance officers. Let's not fool ourselves, let's not pretend that monitoring isn't going to be required," said Zubot.

Relying on the building industry to monitor itself is no guarantee of safety to a homeowner living next an infill development, she added.

The main concern with infill development in older neighbourhoods is around the excavation work, said Zubot.

"Right now there basically is no one inspecting excavations as it happens, and if an error is made there's no way of correcting that error," she said. "The damage is done." 

That damage can range from something as minor as a fence falling into the excavation hole to cracks in the foundation of the home next door.

A report from the city planning department, expected in June, will deal specifically with residential infill excavations.