Monday, September 21, 2009

City of Toronto pool By-laws

A great mystery is about to be revealed! So if you live within the City of Toronto boundaries and are considering putting a pool in your yard...where would you find the bylaws that regulate pool construction online?

As a landscape designer, I asked this question myself...and did an extensive Google search for such bylaws that would regulate the construction of a pool in the City of Toronto...and came up with absolutely nothing!

Now I know that the City of Toronto website posts all or most of their bylaws online in PDF format. This is done so that we can quickly look them up and pretend to be a lawyer in understanding the legal terms and language used to write these bylaws...so that we can know if we are breaking a bylaw rule...or conforming to it.

In order to figure out where the pool bylaws are hidden you have to look in the City of Toronto Fence enclosure bylaws under the Toronto Municipal Code ... yes folks...almost everything you wanted to know about putting a pool in your backyard is there under section 447-3...Swimming Pool Enclosures... and can only be found by searching with the keywords "Toronto Fence bylaws"!...and not the logical keywords... "Toronto Pool bylaws". The only thing I could not seem to find online is the pool setbacks from the property line. I guess that question is better answered by a quick phone call into the bylaw office...instead of hopelessly trying to find it online.

Anyway, the original purpose of this article was set out to talk about a new "Toronto Pool bylaw" in which you are now required to install 4 sided pool fence enclosures instead of the traditional 3 sided enclosures that incorporated the use of your house wall as the 4 th side to enclose your pool....but this will be discussed in the next article...

follow up....so I am still bugged by the fact I cannot find pool bylaws online...I decided to investigate this further by calling into the City (Access Toronto 416-338-0338) and spoke with a service rep for a few minutes. He was very helpful in terms of trying to figure things out...but he was stumped because he could not find any information on his data base. So I got redirected to another number...had to give my home address in order to talk to a zoning examiner for my area...

...but then I was told I no longer lived in the Former North York area...it is now the West District(???) ...somehow my property got shifted out of North York and slotted into Etobicoke... Anyway, I said I am making a general inquiry for Pool Bylaws in Toronto! I was then told...it is different for different districts of Toronto (???????) and I would have to call another number for my area. So I told the lady...basically I have to pretend I am putting a pool in at my home in order to find out information on pool bylaws? She said...I should not be doing that!!!

By this point I was having a good morning laugh... I told her... this is part of my job, I need to know this information because I like to be informed when potential clients call me up and ask me questions... she said...I understand that sir, but you need to give a specific address for where the pool is being built. So I said...okay, I want to put one in at my location! ...I figured I would get somewhere that way.... she gave me a new number to call for the "West District" and I got someone's voice mail box that was already full and I could not leave a message.

I just called another number for the Etobicoke/"York" district...got an automated response which then directed me to another voice mail...I could either leave a message or go in person to make inquiries! I'm still laughing here...

So........... all in all....pool setbacks remain just as elusive on the City of Toronto phone network as they do online. So I guess my best suggestion would be to find out what district you live in for the City of Toronto....and pay them a visit in person!


Let me know what you find out!

8 comments:

greenhouse insurance said...

As someone involved with landscape insurance in the United States, I can definitely empathize with your frustration when it comes to getting around the endless layer of red tape that seems to come from nowhere sometimes. Seeking out the specifics of local legislation can sometimes be quite the adventure, and not in a good way.

Paul Corsetti (416)455-5515 said...

The adventure continues! So...not really getting anywhere with the City of Toronto...I spoke with a Pool contractor that works mostly in the north end of the city...and they told me that the pool setbacks in Toronto are in fact 1.2 meters or 4 feet from the property line.

That is unconfirmed by actual City Bylaw specs... but I think they know their stuff and would tend to go on that measurement.

Casa Loma Toronto said...

Oh come on, why are they so silly? In these times, everything should be online. Seriously, they should realize that putting information online the way it's easy to find would make the lives of people much easier.

Elli

Keith from the TO web re:Brand team said...

Hi Paul. I found your blog while searching for references to toronto.ca. I'm responding as a person on the web re:Brand team for toronto.ca working to make the website better.

In reading your blog it certanly gives me pause. We want users to have success finding information not failure. We are certainly aware of issues around searching. In fact, search and search results are at the top of our list to improve.

I don't want to take up lots of space here but encourage you to come to our blog space and share your comments on our re:Brand space. We're at webrebrand.blogspot.com"

I'm actually blogging about your post on our blog from the perspective of how we need to be discussing problems such as this together.

I'm focusing on web delivery of information to users specifically. We do need to hear from those who have had problems finding materials.

I will also be bringing your blog post to the attention of our inside stakeholders.

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Anonymous said...

Does the City of Toronto fence by-law apply to flarge ish ponds over 600mm in condo common areas, in the former City of North York, where there are no fences, and the area is open to the public?

Paul Corsetti (416)455-5515 said...

You raise a valid point that has been discussed in a few newspaper articles here and there...

I don't know the specific details regarding ponds on condo properties. Most of my work deals with installing residential pools. If I were met with a project of that sort, I would become well informed on those specific bylaws directed at ponds. It would make a great debate in challenging the City with the idea that since we have to fence off pools...they should now start fencing in all natural water courses/features with the idea that "someone" could drown!

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