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Council to consider drainage bylaw

Draft bylaw would look at positioning, direction of downspouts

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 26, 2014 06:00 am

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St. Albert city council will be considering enacting a drainage bylaw later this year.

Coun. Sheena Hughes brought forward a motion that directs administration to prepare a bylaw. The motion was approved unanimously by council.

Hughes said she brought the topic forward because she’s heard the city receives complaints about drainage problems between neighbours consistently but there is no bylaw with enforcement power.

“It will empower administration and give them the ability to address these complaints,” Hughes said. “It also gives residents the power to resolve things on their own.”

The motion calls for the bylaw to consider minimum distances for roof downspout placement and the direction of the water, to specify that owners cannot alter approved surface grades without a go-ahead from the city engineer, to continue to require rough grade lot drainage approval and specifies that owners comply with any other requirement or agreement on the certificate of title in which the city has an interest.

City staff suggested in their report that this could be a “light” version of a drainage bylaw.

When the mayor asked if the city should have a drainage bylaw, David Hales, general manager of planning and engineering, said “short answer, yes.”

The report and Hughes noted Edmonton and other nearby municipalities all have drainage bylaws.

Hughes had photos of a drainage issue between neighbours she’d been called to look at, and Coun. Wes Brodhead said he’s been called to look at situations between neighbours as well.

Brodhead said they’d like to think that neighbours should be able to get together and talk it out, but that doesn’t always work.

“On occasion they need assistance with regulations that provide the context,” he said.

“Similar to Coun. Brodhead I had the opportunity to visit a resident’s yard who’s experiencing drainage issues with neighbours,” said Coun. Tim Osborne, who said he sees a bylaw as developing a tool for residents and staff.

City staff are currently powerless when approached with drainage issues between neighbours, Hughes said.

“Right now they say we care, but we can’t do anything,” she said.

The draft bylaw is to come back to council for review in the first quarter of 2015.


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