A Nanaimo family is looking for some separation from a walkway next to their home.
Kellie Uphill-Tilsner has lived in the 3400 block of Uplands Drive since 1997. In recent years, she said, the area has been experiencing pressures from redevelopment as single-family dwellings are being replaced by multiple-family residences and empty lots are filling up with new homes.
Last year, a house next door and lots surrounding it were purchased for a small residential development between Uplands Drive and Hillside Avenue. The development includes a paved and lighted walkway connecting Hillside Avenue to a new bus stop on Uplands Drive. The walkway, which runs next to her property line, is on an easement covering an underground water main.
The side of Uphill-Tilsner’s home and driveway that border the new walkway are not fenced and she said she worries the potential increase in foot traffic next to her property could pose a security risk, so she want the developer to build a fence between her property and the easement. The backyard of her home is already fenced.
“It’s going right beside my house and we weren’t even notified by the city that they’re doing this or anything and it’s just, like, wham, bam, thank you, ma’am,” Uphill-Tilsner said.
She said she has sent numerous e-mails to the city, which told her she is welcome to put up a fence.
Jeremy Holm, city director of developmental approvals, said the land doesn’t actually belong to the city. Instead a statutory right-of-way is registered over the walkway and water main to protect the area for those purposes, but the land will be owned by the developer or subsequent owner and their use of the land will be restricted to protect the right-of-way.
He also said there is no bylaw or regulation in Nanaimo requiring a developer or subsequent owner to fence right-of-ways.
“It’s really a neighbourly issue,” Holm said. “As with any neighbour, if you choose to, a lot of developers will construct a fence … Often times they’ll put in a fence just for esthetics and for marketability, but there’s not a requirement from the city to put in a fence.”
Holm went on to say the city will sometimes require a fence if not having one poses a safety concern, such as if it were needed to to protect people from falling down a steep slope or to prevent debris uphill from falling onto a pedestrian walkway.
In most instances in which the city owns walkways, the city will erect a fence.
“In that case, I guess, we see ourselves as the neighbour,” Holm said.
He said from a broader city policy perspective, there is a transportation master plan that encourages “walkability, connectivity and permeability of blocks … so, logically we’re looking to make those connections through large disconnected blocks.”
Knappett Industries is the contractor carrying out the work for TDR Developments and Yosef Suna, Kappett Industries general manager, said in an e-mail that the company has no comment.