Tiny council recently approved a housekeeping bylaw to improve lot grading and drainage in the municipality, with several changes proposed.

The most noticeable change was in regards to the lot grading deposit, formerly set to $1,000 but increased to $5,000 with the approval. Public works director Tim Leitch explained the staff recommendation at the recent council meeting.

“This will help encourage voluntary compliance with the procedure,” said Leitch. “Currently our deposit is $1,000, and these are very often left unclaimed.”

Leitch provided the example of swales which may not be visually appealing in their early stages on a lot, causing them to be filled in against the lot grading plan; but after a few years when grass and development has occurred, they would be nearly unnoticeable. 

“This will encourage individuals to maintain and put that lot grading plan in properly, and get the ($5,000 deposit) money back after three years,” Leitch stated, adding that it was a change consistent with other municipalities. “Any unclaimed funds after that timeframe would be used for drainage reserves or drainage spending.”

Coun. Steffen Walma asked Leitch if notices were sent to those who had unclaimed deposits, with Leitch responding that there was no process in place to audit and inform such instances. 

“I’m going to speak out of personal experience,” said Walma, who had recently completed construction on his own property. “I forgot I even gave $1,000 deposit for this thing.”

Another change by staff was to add surveyors to the list of those able to complete a lot grading plan. 

“That increases the amount of options if the surveyor is already on the property already,” said Leitch, “and there are some surveyors that will be doing some lot grading plans so it can be an advantage to the resident.”

Walma agreed that the addition was a good change, but asked staff to look into a more in-house approach than relying on external surveyors who could be costly with time delays between bookings.

Said Leitch: “I think one thing that has to be noted is the cost of our infrastructure, and what’s happening because of the hardscape. This is a significant cost going forward with what we’re dealing with when we see weather events, and as a general municipality drainage is an extreme cost to the township.

“We have to manage it; if we don’t, the cost for the taxpayers will continue to rise.”

Other housekeeping changes recommended by staff included removal of paper copies due to the department becoming fully digital in structure, further specific parameters for the lot grading plan, more information to erosion control, and more. Net zero impact was also mentioned in regards to road allowances, infrastructure and surrounding properties.

During the conversation, Mayor Dave Evans shared that he had been with Leitch during a recent lot grading inspection in the municipality.

“I see this as a good starting point for lot grading and new development, said Evans. “We do not currently have a tree replacement bylaw in Tiny.

“This lays the groundwork for the future.”

Information about lot grading in Tiny can be found on the Getting Started – Building on a Vacant Lot page of the township website.

The public works lot grading and draining plan procedure report, including housekeeping changes and deposit increase details, can be found in the agenda page located on the Tiny Township website.

Archives of council meetings are available to view on Tiny Township’s YouTube channel.

By Derek Howard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on May 23, 2023 at 12:55

This item reprinted with permission from   MidlandToday.ca   Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated