City admin recommends against “Good Neighbour Policy” for city contractors

Prince Albert City Hall -- Herald File Photo.

City administrators have advised against creating a “Good Neighbour Policy” that would require developers and contractors to clean up and fix damage to properties adjacent to their construction sites.

A report from Planning and Development Director Craig Guidinger said such issues are typically civil matters that don’t involve the City. Instead, he’s recommending the City create a brochure informing the public of their rights and obligations.

“This would be an educational document that could be widely shared and would address common issues that arise during the development process,” Guidinger wrote in a report included in the agenda package for Monday’s executive committee meeting. “The brochure would be made available on the City website and distributed as needed in conjunction with development permit applications.”

Council began looking at the issue last October, when administration presented a report on creating a “Good Neighbour Bylaw.” At the time, administrators wrote that such a bylaw would unnecessarily draw the City into legal disputes, and suggest council reject it.

Guidinger wrote that those same concerns still apply to a policy or procedure.

“The City would be inserted into civil matters without the authority to regulate them,” the report reads. “This is not a liability that the City should look to gain.”

Council directed city administrators to look into the issue following complaints about the construction of the River Breeze residential care facility at 658 River Street East. A Planning and Development Services report dated for Sept. 25, 2020 showed nearby property owners were concerned about an excessive amount of dust coming from the construction site.

At least one property owner told council they had to continually wash walls and clean duct work due to the high amount of dust. City administrators wrote that the contractor was working with the property owner to solve the problem, but without success.

The report’s author, planning manager Kristina Karpluk, wrote that the City could not regulate property damage because it was a civil matter, and neither The Planning and Development Act of 2007, or The Cities Act granted them authority.

“Unfortunately, a new bylaw (or a bylaw amendment) will not remedy the problem,” Karpluk wrote.

Although they aren’t recommending a new bylaw, policy or procedure, Karpluk wrote that they would take the issue into consideration when approving development permits.

The “Good Neighbour Policy” report is one of two presentations on the agenda for Monday’s executive committee meeting. Financial Services Director Cheryl Tkachuk will also update council about the Tax Abatement and Exemption Policy.

Monday’s meeting also includes a four-item consent agenda.

Council will also meeting Monday to give final approval for the 2021 municipal budget.