Encroachments on City-Owned Property
Encroachments result from any use of City-owned land by individuals or corporations for their own purposes. Property owners are prohibited from intruding on, in, under or over the ground space of an adjacent City-owned property such as parklands, greenbelts, roads and City easements.
The unauthorized use of City property is illegal under By-law 0057-04.
Encroachment By-law 0057-04
"No person shall erect, place or maintain, or cause to be erected, placed or maintained, an encroachment of any kind on public lands, or on any right of way or easement in favour of the City, except where permitted to do so in accordance with this by-law."
Common types of encroachments include:
- fences and sheds
- playground equipment
- irrigations systems
- flower and vegetable gardens
- unauthorized mowing, cutting or pruning
- unauthorized removal of grass, turf, ground cover, wildflowers, shrubs or trees
Why does the City monitor encroachments in natural areas?
To prevent environmental damage and protect our existing natural areas
It is important to keep the areas next to your property in their natural state. Encroachments can damage the natural environment and cause irreparable damage to sensitive ecosystems. Natural ecosystems in our parks, woodlands and greenbelts play a crucial role in flood prevention, erosion control, protecting air and water quality and provide valuable wildlife habitat. The City acts on behalf of residents as stewards of all public lands to ensure our existing natural areas and trees are protected and continue to grow.
To protect public access and safety
The City's natural areas and public lands are maintained for the benefit of all residents. Property owners who encroach on public lands will be held responsible for any claims resulting in bodily injury or private property damage related to the encroachment.
To minimize restoration costs
Encroachments cost everyone both financially and environmentally and may result in increased costs to the taxpayer for removal of any encroachment and the restoration of public lands.
Contravention of the Encroachment By-law may also lead to violations of other City by-laws such as Zoning and Parks.
- An encroachment inspector will assess the property and adjacent land where the encroachment has been reported.
- Written notification will be provided to the property owner to rectify the encroachment and to restore the public lands to their former conditions.
- If compliance is not met within 30 days the City may complete the required work at the owner's expense.
Know Your Property Lines
When purchasing a property that is adjacent to a natural area it is important to request a survey and know your property boundaries. If you purchase a home with an existing encroachment you may be responsible for all related restoration costs.
To avoid encroaching on public lands, identify your boundaries by accessing the City's interactive mapping tool emaps for an aerial view of your property lines.
To report encroachments on City parkland, woodlands or natural areas, please contact Forestry at 3-1-1 (905-615-4311 if outside City limits).
To report encroachments within road allowances, creeks or storm water management ponds, contact Transportation and Works at 3-1-1 (905-615-4311 if outside City limits).