When work stalls on construction projects, there is little the City of Edmonton can do except ensure the site is not dangerous or too unsightly.
“We have the ability to go onto the site under the (Municipal Government Act) and take whatever action is necessary to correct any unsafe condition,” said Scott Mackie, manager of the city’s current planning branch.
The cost of making an inactive site safe would be tacked onto the title of the property so the landowner pays in the end.
That may be cold comfort for residents who live near the Glenora Skyline condominium development on Stony Plain Road and 142nd Street. The project has halted construction while its backers restructure financing, leaving two storeys of bare concrete floors and columns and a crane that rises high above the plywood boarding surrounding the site.
While the developer insists the project will go ahead, neighbours complain the idle site is an eyesore dominating the high-profile intersection between the mature neighbourhoods of Glenora and Grovenor.
“In terms of aesthetics, we’re somewhat limited in our power,” Mackie said.
“We don’t have any securities in place to finish a building, but under the community standards bylaw we have an ability to deal with an unsightly property.”
The bylaw allows the city to go on the site to remediate offensive elements. But for large projects, measures are limited to installing draping or fabric wrap to cover any unsightliness, Mackie said.
“It’s still going to look like a construction site.”
The city has not received any formal complaints about the Glenora Skyline but Mackie has heard about the community’s concerns.
“Certainly, it is stalled, but I’m hoping and expecting it will resume before too long,” Mackie said. “We’re going to continue to monitor it and keep an eye on the site and try to work with the owners to get things going again.”
Mackie said he has seen far worse situations when he worked in Calgary during the last economic downturn.
“In 2008, I think we had nine sites in the downtown where construction stalled. We had everything from a case like this that is fairly minor where the trades stopped coming to the site, to cases where we had contractors pull their cranes out and take their fences down.”
Source: Edmonton Journal