Michael Wang says he was one of the first residents to move into Greens on Gardiner in Regina’s east end nearly four years ago. Since then, he’s become accustomed to overgrown weeds, standing water, and piles of garbage left in undeveloped lots.
“It’s been a problem since day one,” Wang said. “This is a beautiful area, but you drive around and you see all those empty lots and they don’t really clean them.”
Wang says the unkept lots are attracting mosquitoes and other bugs. He’s also worried leftover nails, wood, and other garbage is unsafe for his two young kids.
“When they play on the road, sometimes they go over and play in those empty lots. It’s not safe,” Wang said. “Somebody is going to get hurt, and obviously it doesn’t help [the neighbourhood’s] appearance.”
Wang isn’t the only expressing concerns. The City of Regina has received nearly 20 complaints this year.
The majority of complaints are coming from Regina’s east end.
Greens of Gardiner, Eastbrook and Towns: seven complaints
The Creeks: three complaints
Harbour Landing: two complaints
Hawkstone: two complaints
Kensington: two complaints
Westerra: one complaint
City councillor Lori Bresciani represents Ward 4, the area that includes Greens on Gardiner and the Creeks. Bresciani reached out to Regina and Region Home Builders’ Association (RRHBA), prompting the group to warn its members about the complaints.
In an email to RRHBA members, president Stu Niebergall wrote, “It might be a good idea for Builders and Developers to ensure the undeveloped lots in the new neighborhoods are kept up.”
“This is an industry challenge to solve for your previous customers or alternatively regulations will solve this problem for them,” Niebergall wrote.
Regina’s Community Standards Bylaw states grass can’t be higher than 15 centimetres on any property in the city. Owners also can’t allow their land, buildings or yards “to become untidy or unsightly due to serious disregard for general maintenance or upkeep.”
“If someone does lodge a complaint, bylaw will go out and they will give the homeowner 14 days to clean up their yard, mow the grass, do whatever it needs to do to comply,” Bresciani said.
“It is the [property owner’s] responsibility to look after [their] lot and maintain it,” Bresciani said. “If we all do that, it sends a good message to be a good neighbour.”
Terra Developments helped establish the Towns in southeast Regina. The company says they start summer maintenance on their lots in June; however, this has been a particularly challenging year.
“With all the dry weather, weeds weren’t really an issue,” Terra Developments president Doug Rogers said. “We got the rain and all the hot weather and poof the weeds exploded.”
“We set a standard, we try to maintain it, and sometimes people don’t quite understand how the rain can set us back because of standing water, getting machinery out, all those types of things,” Rogers said.
Rogers says a slower market also makes it hard to keep up with lot maintenance.
“We have undeveloped lots, builders haven’t built on them yet. They, of course, grow weeds and the neighbours don’t like them which we understand,” Rogers said.
Rogers says sometimes developers get lumped into the complaints even after they’ve sold the lots to builders.
Even though residents have different standards, Terra Developments tries to make the subdivisions as “presentable as possible.”
Rogers says the company has not received any calls from bylaw officers this year.