Illegal widening of driveways in Mississauga a messy issue, councillor says
Published April 19, 2023 at 9:27 am
As Mississauga tries to pave the way to new residential driveway widening rules that would be fair to everyone, one City councillor sees it developing into a big, messy issue before it gets sorted out.
With “thousands of illegally widened driveways” across Mississauga, the City of Mississauga is looking at its bylaws with an eye toward changing regulations in order to make a level playing field for all moving forward.
Ward 1 Councillor Stephen Dasko said at a recent City council meeting that the issue has been particularly “problematic” in Port Credit and Lakeview, areas he represents.
A number of homes that have widened driveways have seen “a lot of basement flooding and other issues,” the councillor said, adding things could get messier before the City figures things out. “This is going to become a bigger issue as we go, for sure…a real dog’s breakfast.”
Dasko shared with fellow councillors a photo of a recent case in Port Credit, a heritage district, he noted, in which a homeowner had paved their entire front lawn to add parking space (see main photo).
Describing the example, in which a mature tree stands in the midst of the paved addition, as “the dark side of all this stuff,” the Ward 1 councillor added, “Words don’t give justice to this and from my understanding, their plans were to go pave over the backyard as well.”
Dasko added that the City’s bylaw team was looking into the matter.
“Just a cautionary tale going forward to make sure that some disaster like this is not replicated and that we get this dealt with as soon as possible,” he concluded. “This is something we certainly don’t want to see ever happen again.”
Mayor Bonnie Crombie and other members of council agreed, with Ward 7’s Dipika Damerla saying, “This (photo) is a perfect example of what we’re trying to stop.”
Prompted by an earlier motion from Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, senior City staff will study the issue and return to council with a report on how the current rules governing the widening of residential driveways can be improved.
Of particular concern to Parrish, who first floated the idea of revamping Mississauga’s driveway widening bylaws during a discussion at council last May, is that the huge number of illegally widened driveways exist pretty much “safe from prosecution” and are usually only investigated if there’s a complaint.
Among other things, her motion asks staff to look at how other municipalities govern driveway widening before preparing a new draft bylaw that would address the matter more equitably across the board in Mississauga by employing more consistent standards.
Any new/reworked bylaw, Parrish added in her motion, would allow for residential driveways already improperly widened to remain without penalty.
“The enforcement is massive if we actually tried to do it, so it’s usually on a complaints basis,” Parrish said earlier. “So, that’s why on one street you can see it done one way, the next street…nobody cares, nobody complains and we don’t have the manpower to go around and check all the driveways all the time.”
Parrish added at the recent council meeting that maybe the City should look at driveway widening the same way it views swimming pool installations.
“There’s not a pool company that works in Mississauga that isn’t terrified of not following our regulations, because they’ll lose their licence and their ability to build pools,” she said. “So, we want to put the same terror in the hearts of the guys who do these paved driveways so that we can enforce it that way.”
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