As part of another investigation, we found out that an alley was illegally occupied by neighbouring owners.

We know from experience that in many places, within Ville de Montréal, residents have installed sheds, fences, etc. in public alleys located behind their residence, without authorization.

If such an illegal occupation of the alley causes no functional or potential problems to the City, our office can intervene to ask the Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine to regularize the situation, by transferring to citizens the illegally occupied piece of land, under certain conditions, so that citizens no longer risk to have to vacate this land.

Sometimes, however, functional public utilities infrastructures are located underneath these alleys and, therefore, the presence of private installations limiting access to the premises may create a real problem. In the occurrence of a breach in the infrastructures, such as a water pipe, the illegal installations encroaching on the alley can prejudice the City’s interventions and delay the repairs of the breach: many citizens are, therefore, at risk of suffering more important damages, due to these delays. When facing such a situation, the Ombudsman normally intervenes with the concerned borough in order to request that they take proper action to put an end to these encroachments.

In the present case, there were no infrastructures underneath: the Ombudsman de Montréal contacted the Direction des stratégies et transactions immobilières of the Service de la mise en valeur du territoire et du patrimoine who initiated the ownership transfer process of the alley, to residents.

We will follow up in 2009.

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