Landscaping and Ponds

Landscaping your yard does not usually require a permit. If the project will result in a change to the existing grade of the land and the natural surface drainage, then a Development Permit is required.

Development Permit Application

Landscaping

The Land Use Bylaw requires that in low-density residential areas, yards which are visible from the road must be landscaped. For new homes, all landscaping must be completed within two years of occupancy of the home.

A minimum of one tree per dwelling must be planted within the front yard, exterior side yard, or adjacent boulevard. At the discretion of the Development Authority, several shrubs may be planted in lieu of a tree.

Landscaping must be maintained on a regular basis. Dead trees or shrubs must be removed by the property owner within one year of discovery, or within one year of notification by the City.


Boulevard maintenance

Boulevard land is owned by the City, but it is the responsibility of adjacent property owners to maintain it. If there is a boulevard adjacent to your property, keep grass and shrubs trimmed, keep weeds to a minimum and keep it tidy. Boulevards must consist of only soft landscaping.

No trees located on a boulevard may be removed to accommodate a new driveway or off-street parking. Also, clearance must be maintained in the boulevard for automobile doors and around fire hydrants.

Boulevard Development and Maintenance Policy


UROW

Only soft landscaping is allowed around a utility right-of-way. Trees or shrubs must be planted at least one metre away. No structures are allowed within a UROW. This includes concrete driveways or patios, buildings of any kind, fences, retaining walls, decks, pools, hot tubs, ponds, fire pits, affixed play structures, etc.

If you are uncertain whether or not there is a UROW on your property, you can check the site plan for your property, you may purchase a Real Property Report or you can contact us.


Keep sight lines clear

Landscaping must not block sight lines for pedestrians and vehicles within 1 metre (3'-3") from the back of the sidewalk (or from the back of the curb if there is no sidewalk). No fence, tree, landscaping element or other obstruction is allowed within 0.9 meters (2'-11") and 2.5 meters (8'-2") from ground level.


Dial or click before you dig

Puncturing an underground service line could cause an inconvenient delay, or be life threatening. Check for the location of underground utilities before you start digging. See Line Locates below.


Moving infrastructure is expensive

If you wish to relocate a service line or meter, you are responsible for the cost. Before applying for a Development Permit, contact the appropriate service department to ask whether the relocate is possible, what costs involved and timeline.


Do not remove survey markers

Boundary markers are one-meter long metal pins inserted in the ground at the intersection of property lines. It is illegal to remove or tamper with these markers.


Do not encroach on adjacent properties

It is not allowed to cross any property line with development or landscaping. This applies regardless of the ownership of the neighbouring property.


Tree preservation

The City's Tree Preservation Bylaw (#4218) states that you must not disturb, prune or remove any public tree. It also outlines how to care for elm trees, which owners must abide by.

Trees and Gardens

Ponds

Depth

A decorative pond must be less than 600mm (24") deep.


UROW

No ponds are allowed within a utility right-of-way (UROW). If you are not sure whether or not there is a UROW on your property, you can check the site plan for your property, purchase a Real Property Report or contact us.


Draining

When draining your pond, do not let the water out to any street, lane, sidewalk, drainage ditch or neighbouring property. The best way is to slowly let it out on your own property away from any building foundations, allowing the water to evaporate or soak into the ground.


Preventing cross-contamination

When filling your pond, keep the hose end above the water surface to prevent cross-contamination of the drinking water supply.

How to Apply

Online

Apply online

In Person

  1. Determine which application(s) you need. You can then download checklists and forms below to complete them, or come in person to City Planning and we will assist you.
  2. Have drawings ready, if required (ex: Site plan, elevation plan, floor plan, floor joist and roof truss drawings)
  3. Have utility locate slips: These show the location of underground and overhead utilities, such as gas and cable lines. See Line Locates below.
  4. Bring all these required documents (USB drive preferred) and apply in person at City Planning.

Payment Methods

Online or phone:

Visa or Mastercard

In-person:

  • Debit
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Visa or Mastercard

Mail:

  • Cheque

Fees and Charges

How long will it take to approve permits?

  • Development Permits: Timelines vary based on application type and the impact to the community.
  • Building Permits: Typically less than 6 business days, provided that an approved Development Permit (if required) has been released.

Line Locates

When planning your project, it is important to know where utilities are located on your property. Locates are free of charge but require at least two days notice.

You must provide utility locate slips with a development application.

Line locates

Inspections

If a Building Permit was required for your project, then you must book a City inspection. At the discretion of the Safety Codes Officer, most projects require rough-in and final inspections, depending on the complexity of the project.

Book Online

Please review this user guide before booking online.

Book by Phone

Phone 403-529-8208 or fax the Inspection Request to 403-502-8036.

Risks when permits are not obtained

By not obtaining permits for work done on your home, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to potential future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim. There could also be consequences if you do not correct the situation, such as:

  • Enforcement action issued by a Safety Codes Officer.
  • A fine for building without a permit.
  • Having to undo work that has been completed.
  • Future legal and financial issues when selling your property or making an insurance claim.
  • Having to do more work than was originally planned and budgeted, to fix deficiencies.
  • Potential liability to you, the homeowner, in the event of an accident.

As a homeowner, you are responsible for paying any penalties, even if you hired a contractor who assured you that permits were not required.

What if I am not the property owner?

If you are not the owner of the property, then you must get the owner's consent to apply for any changes.

Owner Consent