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Damage & Unauthorized Modifications to City Property

Modifications to City Property

On February 26, 2001, City Council adopted the Unauthorized Changes or Damages to City Property Policy, which allows staff to deal with unauthorized changes or damage to City property.

Protection and control of City property such as boulevards and watercourses within the public right-of-way is an important responsibility of the City, and supported by many residents in Richmond.

In order to achieve a practical balance between enforcement of City Bylaws, City Council repealed the Zero Tolerance City Property Policy 9015, and replaced it with Policy 9016. Policy 9016 allows staff greater flexibility on prioritizing the protection of public safety and City property.

For example, if an unauthorized change or damage to City property poses an apparent threat to public safety or property comes to the attention of staff, the City will take immediate action to have the City property restored. Where the party responsible can be identified, they have the option to restore City property at their cost within a reasonable time as determined by the General Manager of Engineering and Public Works, but not to exceed one calendar year, or City crews will restore the property at the owners expense.

Alternatively, where staff determine that the unauthorized change or damage is not an apparent threat to public safety, the City may choose not to take action to have the City property restored until it becomes a threat, or until City undertakes regular maintenance or capital construction in the immediate vicinity.

Please be aware that unauthorized infilling of any City watercourse is illegal, and the owner is subject to removal of any items placed in or on a watercourse. For residents who would like eroding watercourses shored up, the onus would be on the resident to notify City staff who may take action to stabilize the watercourse. Residents who prefer their watercourse to be filled in have two options:

  1. Local Area Services Program (LASP)
    This program is a neighbourhood improvement, which includes infilling a City watercourse, paid for by the owners of the properties benefitting, with some financial assistance from the City.
  2. Watercourse Crossing
    Watercourse Protection and Crossing Bylaw No. 8441 permits an owner to infill a City watercourse fronting their individual property by installing a culvert.

Further information on these two legal watercourse infill options may be obtained by contacting the Engineering Division at 604-276-4289.

Before making any changes to City property, you may want to consult with an Engineering Inspector at 604-276-4014, or refer to applicable City Bylaws.