Arrondissement d’Outremont

In a Heritage sector, major exterior work is done on a property, including earthmoving work. Complaints file with the OdM claim that these works have serious adverse effects on neighbouring properties.

Following a thorough analysis, our office identifies 10 issues in dispute: we submit them to the Borough.

This investigation proves to be difficult. The cooperation of the Division des permis et des inspections and of the Direction de l’aménagement urbain et du patrimoine is far from certain. Many meetings, follow-up calls and emails are needed in order to obtain the information we asked for and the Borough’s explanation of the decisions made in this file. Yet, the By-law Concerning the Ombudsman and the Cities and Towns Act clearly provides that municipal employees must cooperate with the Ombudsman’s inquiries. It is truly exceptional for our office to issue such comments.

Consequently, about 18 months have elapsed between the launch and the end of this investigation. Our main conclusions are as follows:

♦  Given their size, the new elements that were built have a significant visual impact on the heritage landscape of the street as well as on the neighbouring properties, including one which is classified as a Quite remarkable – Category 1 building.

♦  The Certificat d’autorisation de terrassement authorized major changes to what had been approved by the Borough Council in 2014 (PIIA approval), in this Heritage sector. It is our view that a new PIIA approval should have been obtained.

♦  It is also the OdM’s view that the Division des permis et des inspections overstepped its powers when it approved significant changes to the initial concept for the garage, with a simple Certificat d’autorisation de terrassement.

♦  We noted that following a visit, a Borough Inspector had noticed that the new retaining walls (in front) were different from what was shown on the Plans de terrassement: he had, therefore, issued a Cease-Work Order. This Cease-Work Order was later cancelled by the Division Manager.

♦  Some walls were built in the setback margin: they are non-compliant.

♦  Other low walls intrude illegally on public land: they are also not compliant. The Borough committed to demanding the demolition of these walls: they have yet to be demolished.

♦  We also found that the Borough does not apply to all, in a fair and consistent manner, the rules governing the PIIA approvals, the minor exemptions, the developments in setback margins and the required permits.

8 RECOMMENDATIONS were issued in the wake of this investigation: you will find them, as well as the results achieved to date, on page 32 of OdM‘s 2018 Annual Report.

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