Landscape Encroachments

Many City residents have extended their landscaping beyond their property lines to beautify the boulevard in front of their homes. Such improvements are welcome as they beautify our City streets but they must comply with the regulations outlined in the City's Street and Traffic Bylaw 6234.

All landscaping elements located within the City Right of Way (the area beyond your property line) are the property of the City, even when they are paid for and installed by the adjacent property owner. This includes any plantings, landscape structures (e.g. fences, gates, pergolas) and hardscape elements (e.g. stairs, paths).

These elements are called landscape encroachments and are subject to regulation by the City. The City or various utility companies (e.g. BC Hydro, Fortis Gas, Telus) may alter or remove landscaping to maintain or install infrastructure without considering privately installed landscape features on public land.

The property owner is responsible for maintaining the boulevard within the City Right of Way adjacent to their property. The City may request the removal of encroaching landscape materials and plantings if they aren't properly maintained.

How Does the City Manage Encroachments?

As part of a community-wide review of encroachments, the City is identifying landscape encroachments in the public right of way. This includes encroachments into rear lanes, over sidewalks, and at corners where sightlines cause safety concerns for pedestrians and drivers. Once identified, residents will be sent a letter requesting the landscape encroachment be corrected within 30 days of notice. In most cases, this means trimming an overgrown bush, hedge, or tree back to the property line.

Examples of Encroachments

Why is this an encroachment?

The hedge was planted in the public right of way. Since it's overgrown,  pedestrians may no longer use the sidewalk safely.

Why is this an encroachment?

The fence was installed on public property, and privatizes public land for a resident's use. Structures such as fences are not permitted on public property.

Why Encroachments Matter

When residents plant trees and shrubs on public land and let them become overgrown, they can impede the use of sidewalks and boulevards. Fences, retaining walls, and other landscape elements can obstruct the City’s Right of Way. When these encroachments become a safety concern, the City is obligated to work with the homeowner to remedy the situation.

Retaining walls and fences are often installed in the City’s Right of Way to extend a resident’s private use of public property - land that's set aside by the City for the benefit of all City residents. The City is obligated to work with the homeowner to find a solution which may include entering into a legal agreement for the use of public property for private benefit.

When the City embarks on a Civil Works project, such as building sidewalks, planting street trees, repairing utilities, etc landscape encroachments impede the planning and construction of these projects. The removal of landscape encroachments by the City adds an additional cost to the City resident. Minimizing encroachments in the City’s Right of Way reduces the overall costs to all residents.

Keep Us Informed!

For complaints concerning boulevard fences, walls, tree branches, hedges, etc., that are restricting driver visibility or impeding pedestrians please contact the Engineering, Parks and Environment Department at 604-983-7333 or use our Online Service Request Form.

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