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Roadblock (Updated Aug 25/2015)

The morning went well.  I finished pulling off the sheathing on the garage and disassembling part of the roof structure on that side.  Eric was there again and de-nailed a whole pile of wood and I had two Craigslist respondents picking up half of the ship-lap and most of the 2×4’s.  They will both be back tomorrow to pick up the balance.  The 2×4 are being used for a deck and the ship-lap for a large greenhouse.

Then at around 12:15 PM the suite doorbell rang (Eric and I were having lunch) and it was a District Building Inspector who seemed to be quite agitated.  The claim was that I did not have a demo permit in place.  I was perplexed by this because I certainly had applied and paid an amount of money toward one and as far as I was concerned, it was in place.  All my conversation with the Municipal staff over the last three months were biased by my assumption it was in place and some of the staff were certainly aware I was actively demolishing. But alas it appeared in the end, there still was some outstanding paper work and fees.  So I promised to go to the Hall this afternoon and sort it out (more on that in a second).

The second item in the upset list was my lack of construction fencing ALL AROUND the property.  I was given an ultimatum that this had to be in place by my re-inspection on Monday or I would be fined.  There was an indication someone had complained and a strong concern for child safety.  While I totally understand the child safety thing, I also expect parents to supervise their kids and not let them walk through other peoples yards.  I had planned on fencing, but was unsure of when it needed to be in place and had planned on ensuring it was in place prior to excavation when real injury could happen.

Update Aug 25, 2015 – I was in the wrong on this, I should have had the fencing in place before starting deconstruction on the exterior of the dwelling.

But, that time table was escalated.  I called Super Save, Modu-Loc, Yellow Fencing and Fencer.  Super Save seemed to be staffed by very young women who did not know what they were doing. After way too long on the phone I asked her to just call me back when she had a price because the initial price of $441 for the first month and $58 (35¢ a foot per month) for each additional month included setup and take down which I did not need.  I never got a call back.  Modu-Loc was 40¢ a foot per month and $195 Drop Off.  Yellow Fencing was 25¢ a foot per month (for the old ugly fencing) and $175 for drop off and pick up.  Fencer was also 25¢ a foot per month for nice forest green new fencing (blends into background and will be up for probably 2 years) and $99 for drop off and $99 for pickup.  Sam @ Fencer rentals confirmed he would make sure I would get this weekend.  Yellow was to call back but never did.  I confirmed the order with Sam and at first he said for sure Sunday AM but possible Saturday. Then a couple of hours later while I was having dinner with a friend from the company I used to work at, he called and advised that it would be delivered within the hour.  I returned from dinner at 5:30 and it was being unloaded.  So I spent the evening putting it up.  I have already received complaints from both neighbours asking how we are to get into each others yards.  So I will have to figure out some type of gate.  After all Gail to the north is part of my Pension Power and Ron her husband is my main Supervisor 🙂  We are all good neighbours to each other and regularly slip into each other’s yards for some reason or other even just to visit.

The final item on the list was the absence of some of the tree fencing. I tried to advise that it was in the middle of reconfiguration as it needed to be moved now that we had approval to do so by the arbourist who had completed air spading.  I mentioned that I had discussed this in advance with the District person reasonable for the fencing and that I was to just send in photos of the reconfigured fencing once done.  I also mentioned that the big gap, was because a shipping container had just been removed and that I had not filled in the resulting space yet but was planning to when I finished the overall reconfiguration.  This seemed to go over like a lead balloon.  It seemed I was in the bad books and nothing I said made a difference.

After lunch I went to the District hall to sort out the permit process.  I arrived at 1PM and was told it was lunch time and come back at 1:30 – So noted for future visits.  At 1:30 I returned to complete the process for the Demo Permit Only.  As far as I am concerned, I had an agreement from staff that I could apply for and proceed on the demo independently of the building permit.  At first this was to allow the demo to proceed before the building permit was issued as a special favour by the District.  Then for me it became a cash flow issue, because as part of the Building permit procedure I have to pay $10K for a security (refundable as long as I return District property to undamaged status), and $7700 for relining or replacement of the sewer line (I totally understand this policy, you want to take these opportunities to replace your infrastructure, but 1. $7700 is not a competitive rate for this work and 2. I know the line is in really good shape – glass lined, I believe porcelain and probably would be fine for another 50 years).   But I was told the official policy is to not allow independent application of the Demo from the Building permit and none of the people that I had this arrangement with were in the office today.  And I did not want to push this any further and get further into hot water if things were not settled by the Monday re-inspection.  So I forked out $22,220 in permit fees and damage deposit (and this is not all of them by a long shot) and received my full building permit package.  This was upsetting because I am a month away from actually needing the building permit – assuming I could excavate with the soils permit which I did already have.

While at the hall I talked with the person responsible for the tree fencing and confirmed again what had transpired and that I will send photos of the reconfigured fencing when in place.  She seemed satisfied with this (but did state it is their policy that I have to call before moving it in the first place.  She said the same thing when on site the first time but then we made the arrangement to just do what the abourist allowed and then send over photos)

I am really hoping today’s tone does not continue through my inspection process.  Up to now the District people I have interacted with for the inspections have been awesome, flexible, supportive, and understanding.  I want a very cooperative relationship and not one of constant strife.  I do not need the added stress and they do not need the extra hassle.  I am chalking this up to inexperience on my side (I did not know I needed to post something on site for the demo permit and so did not clue in that the process was not complete), the District responding to a complaint (which certainly did not come from any of the direct neighbours), and a possible a lack of systems at the Hall to document any special dispensations provided.

The one good thing about the fence in place is I have to worry less about theft.  I have had people responding to Craigslist ads act like it was a free-for-all and just take other things.  I also forgot to lock the truck last week and had someone go in at 3:19 AM (motion caught on web-cam) and riffle through the truck and take a bunch of gifts cards I had in the centre console for various stores and also some pocket knives.

Well that was the day. On average a downer, but we worked through it. I will spend the weekend re-configuring the tree fencing, taking another load of green waste wood to the transfer station, taking my drywall and a neighbours drywall down the street to the transfer station, stripping out the last of the roof structure for pickup by someone, and a final trip to the EcoDump to drop off last pile of shingles.  If I still have time, I will try to take the south annex containing the garage down.

Wish me luck and thanks for visiting.

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