News / Calgary

Infill construction damage cost Calgary roughly $9.3 million: report

City launching plans to better document damage to trees, sidewalks

A new report from city administration says infill construction damage to public property leaves many costs in the taxpayer's hands.

Brodie Thomas / Metro

A new report from city administration says infill construction damage to public property leaves many costs in the taxpayer's hands.

Knocking down an older home in an established neighbourhood and replacing it with an infill comes with a few hidden costs to taxpayers, but now the city hopes to recoup those expenses.

A report going to committee on Wednesday spells out those potential costs, as well as solutions.

City administration looked specifically at Wards 7, 8 and 9, and tallied up damage to trees and concrete in a roughly 10-kilometre-long survey area.

On average, each infill site had $163 in tree damage, and $1,391 in concrete damage.

When extrapolated city wide over the five years from 2011 to 2015, that’s an estimated cost of $9.3 million.

Coun. Shane Keating, chair of the transportation and transit committee receiving the report, said there shouldn’t be a hidden public cost to building infills.

“Greenfield developers have a certain clause that there should be certain things done before hand,” He said. “Before it’s turned over to the city, it’s inspected, and if there’s any damage done it has to be repaired.”

He said inner city developers working on individual lots need to be held up to the same standards.

“There’s no reason that the rest of the taxpayers should be saddled with a cost when the cement truck backs up over the sidewalk and cracks the sidewalk,” said Keating.

Calgary has a civic insurance program to deal with claims for damage done to city property. The report notes that the number of claims trended upward since 2011, reaching a high of 943 claims in 2015.

The report from administration outlines three-point plan to crack down on infill constructions damage.

First, it wants to form a working group that will improve coordination and oversite for complaints, and develop an infill construction strategy.

Secondly, it’s planning to add infill construction damage as a category in the 311 system.

Finally, there could be a requirement for before and after photos of city assets as a part of the development permit process.

Keating said having photos will remove doubt over who did the damage and help claims run more smoothly.

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