Are you living through construction hell?

We’re fortunate to live in Leaside, one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods. On the other hand, Leaside’s desirability attracts a lot of home renovation, demolition and rebuilding. If your house is next to the construction site, you are likely experiencing not only months of noise but also disruption to your own property.

The Leaside Residents Association frequently receives reports (and cries for help) from homeowners who report blockage of, and damage to, their driveways, plumbing, and neighbouring walls, and debris stored on their property. Aside from the aggravation, the contractor’s work next door can cause real costs to you. 

Before construction begins, as a precaution, it’s a good idea to take photos or video to record the “before” for future comparison. 

If a problem occurs, what can you do? Take photos or video to document the problem. You can call 311, or the Councillor’s office, but by the time an inspector has been assigned to take a look, hours, days or even weeks may have passed. It will probably be too late to catch the builder in the act and prevent greater harm. A fine, long after the event, may be levied. Calling the police won’t help: the police don’t get involved in civil property disputes. Another issue: is your problem with the contractor? Or with the owner of the property? 

At our May LRA board meeting, we heard from one Leasider who has experienced all of the above frustrations plus repair costs. It occurred to us there could actually be effective action. Just as a “tree deposit” has to be paid to protect the health of on-site trees before construction is permitted, how about the City requiring an up-front deposit for any potential damage to adjacent properties? This deposit could provide prompt payment to cover the cost of the damage. It would also fund an instant helpline for the affected homeowner to contact, and – not least – be a meaningful incentive for builders to dig and build with greater care. 

A construction damage deposit would likely have to be implemented City-wide; Leaside is not the only neighbourhood affected by construction damage. Is it worth proposing to our civic government? What are your thoughts? 

Traffic update

The LRA is working closely with Lawrence Park’s ratepayer group. We are together requesting an in-person (outdoor, safely distanced) meeting with top City officials to discuss the timely completion of both neighbourhoods’ community-wide road-safety traffic management plans (TMPs), which have been in the planning stage since 2019, but slowed by the pandemic. We are seeking interim safety measures, and permanent traffic calming, road/intersection redesigns. We are optimistic this meeting will take place by early summer.

Next board meeting

You are welcome to attend any of the LRA’s monthly board meetings, which normally take place on the first Wednesday of each month. Our June Zoom meeting has been rescheduled to WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9th, owing to a time conflict with a City public consultation event. To watch or participate, let us know by June 9th so we can send you the access details.

About Carol Burtin Fripp 105 Articles
Carol Burtin Fripp is Co-President of the Leaside Residents Association, and is Chair of the LRA's Traffic Committee. Over the years, she has served on numerous East York and City task forces. Now a retired television producer (TVO and CBC), she writes Leaside Life's monthly LRA column, and has created a daily international current affairs newsletter read from Newfoundland to New Zealand.