WARD 27 councillor Martin Meyer has called for an urgent investigation into the city’s Land Use Management (LUM) Unit and Building Inspectorate, claiming the department has lost “total control” over mushrooming developments across the Berea and demanding that drastic measures be put in place to address the growing problem of developers building in contravention to bylaws and building plans.
“The challenges on the Berea are ever-increasing and now seriously affect people’s health and quality of life. I have requested a meeting with officials so that we can sit down with a list of problem buildings and go through this thoroughly and also visit the sites. The problem is out of control and needs to be reined in. I have called for an investigation into the department, however I cannot divulge any further information as discussions are at a sensitive stage,” said Meyer.
Meyer’s call for an investigation comes after a walkabout with residents in Twelfth Avenue, Berea, who are affected by developments in Currie Road.
Residents listed a number of issues regarding developments in and around the road, including the fact some had purposely been left to deteriorate with the aim to demolish, which brought about a significant increase in cockroaches and flies. They also expressed dismay at the vagrants who took advantage of the abandoned properties and vandalised the residences in question. Another point of concern is the many building contraventions that have being committed by developers who failed to adhere to submitted building plans and had gone ahead with construction without consulting neighbouring residents.
“The purpose of height restrictions is to maintain privacy. Developments in the area fly in the face of this and don’t look anything like the submitted plans,” claimed one resident during the walkout.
Residents agreed that while they were not against densification, they felt the area could be modernised in such a way that it suited the style of the existing area.
“We don’t want to stand in the way of progress, but if the existing building is something worth saving this should be respected. The willful neglect is particularly grating,” he said.
Councillor Meyer and residents felt the municipality needed to have proper structures in place to deal with issues of houses being left to deteriorate and to put a stop to unscrupulous builders responsible for the number of developments mushrooming all over the area.
Cheryl Johnson from Save Our Berea agreed that this was an ongoing problem and advised residents to act quickly if they saw any suspicious building work near their homes which could impact on their well-being and value of their property.
“Save Our Berea wants densification on the Berea to be justified. Densification is not meant to be for the rich, but here it is used to make the rich people richer at the expense of their neighbours and neighbourhoods,” she said.
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