Infill site inspections, complaints on the rise in Edmonton

The city’s Infill Compliance Team completed 1,281 inspections in mature neighbourhoods between April and December of last year — a 130 per cent increase from the same time period in 2016.

In 2017, compliance team handed out 547 warnings, 354 tickets and 9 stop-work orders

Inspections of infill housing construction sites help promote proper construction practices, the city says. (Chris Proctor)

More than 900 infractions were identified at infill construction sites last year, the City of Edmonton said Thursday.

Infill construction site inspections in Edmonton more than doubled in 2017, the city's Infill Compliance Team reported.

In total,1,654 inspections were conducted, resulting in the discovery of 910 infractions.

Enforcement officers handed out 547 warnings, 354 tickets and nine stop-work orders.

During the busy period between April and December, the compliance team completed 1,281 inspections in mature neighbourhoods — a 130-per-cent increase from the same time period in 2016.

The increase is a result of improved resources for conducting inspections, along with an increase in citizen complaints, said Lyla Peter, director of development and zoning services.

"The increase in citizen complaints is likely due to greater public awareness and clarity about where to direct infill complaints," Peter said.

Traffic bylaw infractions such as unauthorized sidewalk crossings and obstructing roadways accounted for 60 per cent of tickets.

The tickets are handed out by a team of two community standards peace officers and a development compliance officer.

The team, established in April 2016, monitors infill construction sites and promotes best practices through education, inspections, warnings, tickets and stop-work orders.

Peace officer Kevin Tomalty is a member of the Infill Compliance Team. (CBC)

Peace officer Kevin Tomalty said the team helps settle disputes between developers and community members.

"There's obviously going to be a little bit of tension in between people who have lived in a community for a long time and then obviously a new build coming in because it's different," Tomalty said.

"It's completely different and it brings about some issues, but that's the reason why we're here."

Tomalty said an open dialogue exists between enforcement officers and builders.

"Due to the fact that this is so new, they're not necessarily used to this level of enforcement and attention to their projects," he said. "So it's good that we're able to communicate on a person-to-person basis in order to hopefully increase compliance in the future."

The team predicts an increased need for their services in 2018, and hopes to respond to all citizen complaints.