The CRRA first alerted the City to building alterations taking place at Chardonnay Deli in September 2014 and we suspected that this was without planning permission or approved building plans. We were informed that plans had been submitted but not approved. In June 2015 a re-zoning application was submitted, but subsequently withdrawn by the owners when more information was requested by the City (presumably because this was not possible).
In the latter part of 2015 we became very concerned about the traffic situation at the Chardonnay Deli corner confirmed by emails from members who had witnessed accidents and ‘near misses’. This prompted Cllr Liz Brunette to call a meeting with council officials (planning, roads and traffic) in November – the outcome was that the City wrote to the owner requesting a temporary traffic management plan. The owner made a feeble attempt to address the problem over the holiday period.
At the February ExCo meeting we raised this with Cllr Liz Brunette and at the March meeting were told that a traffic management plan would be required as part of the official planning application. At the same time we submitted a formal Land Use Contravention to the City and a letter to Cllr Brunette which read:
As discussed at the CPOA/CRRA ExCo meeting yesterday, the situation at the abovementioned property has become untenable and urgent steps need to be taken by the City to address the following:
- Traffic ingress/egress from the property is totally dysfunctional and the temporary signage does not conform to Road Traffic Act standards. At a meeting with yourself and several officials in December 2015 the latter undertook to ensure the owners submit a temporary traffic management plan prior to the festive season and to erect appropriate signage. You reported at the February ExCo meeting that no such plan was submitted. The ‘temporary signage’ installed by the owner was amateurish and totally ineffective. A serious accident occurred on Monday 7 March as reported to this Association by one of our members (copy attached). We wish to place on record our concern that a fatal accident is highly likely to occur if the City does not address the situation with the urgency it requires.
- You reported at ExCo yesterday that the planning application for the property has been withdrawn because the owners were not able to provide information as requested by City officials. You also reported that 4 departments were involved in this matter, that one department had closed its files because another department did not act and pass information on to the first department, the process thus being in limbo. An ExCo member asked what would trigger action and you advised that a complaint from the CRRA would. As things stand, Chardonnay Deli is operating illegally, without planning permission and without approved building plans. Attached is a Land Use Contravention form submitted to City officials. We trust that appropriate action will be taken.
What followed for the next few months were a series of emails from Cllr Brunette to City officials with a lot of ‘buck passing’ between them with no one willing to take ownership of the issue.
When asked at the June ExCo why Land Use inspectors had not taken any firm action, Cllr Brunette stated that penalties under the new Municipal Planning By-Law were onerous and should act as a deterrent. Also that she had asked City Traffic to investigate the dangerous traffic situation. When asked at the September meeting how this long outstanding issue could be progressed, Cllr Brunette suggested that the CRRA should lodge another LU contravention complaint and also meet with the owner.
On 30 September we received a Heritage Assessment Report for comment – this seeks to legitimize the unauthorized alterations and additions that were undertaken on the buildings but does not address any traffic issues.
On 30 October we learnt that a planning application was received by the City but we have not seen it yet.
The City Property Inspector (Enforcement) is now waiting for the outcome of the Heritage and Land Use processes before escalating the contravention matter to the City legal department.
All these processes take time and in the interim the chaotic traffic situation will continue unabated unless someone from the City takes ownership.
We re-iterate our concern that a fatal accident is highly likely to occur if the City does not address the situation with the urgency it requires.