Edmonton struggles with great infill projects as the City is focused on developing the burbs. It is quite a challenge to develop infill projects in Edmonton as land costs can be quite high, existing communities can be resistant to new projects (NIMBY) and conflicts between City department for example - the City's long term planning and short term planning (i.e. zoning bylaws).
I know this from experience. One project that I completed was developing a secondary suite (aka - grandma suite) in a single family house (zoned RF1) in Duggan. What should have been a fairly simple project to execute (it was under $20,000 worth of reno's) turned into a one year nightmare. To start, my development permit sat on the permit officer's desk for six months while I called (and got voicemail) several times a week. The only way I eventually saw any action was when I made a formal complaint to his manager. What followed next was a very cryptic hand written note mailed to me asking me something about a fire inspection. Giving up on trying to get an answer from the permitting office, I phoned the fire chief. Amazing enough the fire department knew exactly what I needed, but they needed permitting to make the request. Thankfully they put me in touch with the Secondary Suite Coordinator who organizes the multitude of departments that need to inspect the premises to get your permit. Once I called the City's coordinator things then went smoother but what a journey to get there.
The program is quite a bit different now but I imagine navigating the permitting office is about the same. The Cornerstone program is a great initiative to help support higher density in mature neighbourhoods by allowing and funding up to 50% (when I applied it was 75%) of the upgrades required. Things they look for are two furnaces, proper drywalled ceilings, adequately sized windows in the bedrooms; most of the requests are safety related and quite reasonable.
For more information on the Secondary Suites and the Cornerstone program: CLICK HERE.
Anthony (Tony) Valente is a Professional Engineer with significant experience in construction. He owns a development company called TOTAL HOUSE which operates in the primary and secondary residential rental markets. Tony also is available for project management or consulting services. You can contact him at email@example.com.