This week, Planning Committee approved a new city-wide by-law to regulate site alteration, which includes activities like removing topsoil, placing or dumping fill, altering grade, or excavating. The new by-law would replace several existing by-laws, including the Drainage By-law and eight Topsoil Preservation By-laws carried over from former municipalities which collectively provide an inconsistent regulation of site alteration across the City.
The new by-law aims to reduce the risk of negative impacts by establishing basic rules for site alteration activities. This includes the removal of topsoil from land, the placement or dumping of fill on land, the alteration of the grade of land, or excavation by any means, including the clearing or stripping of vegetation from the land, the compaction of soil or the creation of impervious surfaces.
The new by-law would also ensure the City is able to implement Official Plan policies protecting significant natural heritage features, and to enforce stop-work orders. This report will be considered next by the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, on Thursday, April 5 before proceeding to City Council for final approval.
Working with staff, I am glad to see this bylaw come to fruition as many residents of our community have brought concerns forward to me about tree removal and other site alterations happening years in advance of actual development.
I believe that the proposed Bylaw is a step in the right direction, achieving a compromise between residents and various stakeholder groups affected. Additionally, the Bylaw will be subject to review in another 2 years-time to assess performance and determine any necessary changes.
For more background and to review the report in its entirety, please click here.