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Parks and Open Space

Non Standard Boulevard Treatment

Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law

Helping Us Beautify Winnipeg's Communities

What you need to know before working on your boulevard:

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What is the purpose of the By-law?
The Neighbourhood Liveability By-law (#1/2008) includes a section on boulevard maintenance (Part 8), which allows property owners to beautify the boulevards adjacent to their property without the need for a permit so long as they meet the guidelines specified in the By-law.
What am I, as a homeowner, responsible for if I plant on my boulevard?
Prior to making any excavation in a boulevard, the owner or occupant of property must contact owners of utilities and other underground structures to ensure that no underground structures will be disturbed or damaged by the proposed excavation. Click Before You Dig

Homeowner or occupant is also responsible for maintaining any non-standard boulevard treatments, e.g. excavations/plantings.
Do I need underground clearances if I am only removing the sod?
Yes, all excavations require an underground clearance, whether you dig just 1" or up to 12" or more.
Click Before You Dig

We recommend that you create your garden beds above ground if at all possible. This can be done by simply layering old newspapers on top of the turf, and placing the soil right on top of the paper. Plant your garden and over time some of the grass will start to peak out, just pull it out as you see it.
If I don't want to apply for a permit, what are the guidelines I need to follow? The information below can act as a checklist when planning your boulevard beautification project. You do not need to apply for a permit if you follow these guidelines.
  • Your garden should not interfere with the movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic.
  • The plants you are growing should not interfere with the sightlines of pedestrians or drivers of vehicles.
  • Shrubs, fruit and vegetables are not to be planted.
  • Make sure there is access to:
    • fire hydrants;
    • installations belonging to City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro or Manitoba Telecom Service/Allstream;
    • post office boxes located on the boulevard.
  • The boulevard must be accessible for snow removal operations, including storage of snow removed from the roadway / sidewalk.
  • Do not create or widen a private approach or walk, if you do you must apply for a permit under the Private Approach By-law.
  • Boulevard must be graded so that water flows from the edge of the right of way into the street and that vegetation or objects do not obstruct rainwater and snow melt from flowing from the edge of the right-of-way into the streets; and
  • In the absence of an agreement with the owner of neighbouring property, does not allow non-standard vegetation to spread beyond that portion of the boulevard that is adjacent to his or her property.
  • Does not harm a tree planted in the boulevard.
  • Only turf (grass) can be planted within 1.0 metre from the curb.
  • Only turf (grass) can be planted within 0.5 metre from the public sidewalk.

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The following items cannot be placed on the boulevard:

Are the items or vegetation still my property once placed on the boulevard?
No, once placed on the boulevards they are considered part of the boulevard. Boulevards are provided for public safety & for quick access to utilities such as water, hydro, telephone and fire hydrants. This is important to remember as any vegetation or items may be removed or destroyed when conducting city business (example a water main break). This can take place without the consent and without compensation to the homeowner or occupant. In the majority of cases the city will attempt to contact the homeowner before starting work on the boulevard but unfortunately this is not always possible.
Is there a minimum level of boulevard maintenance that home owners are responsible for?
Yes there is. The homeowner or occupant is responsible for the following boulevard maintenance:
  • Grass no more than 15 centimetres (6 inches) high.
  • Other vegetation, other than turf, no more than 1.0 metre (39 inches) high.
  • Control noxious weeds. (Manitoba Noxious Weeds Act)
  • Keep boulevard free of garbage.
What boulevards are maintained by the city?
  • Boulevards beside a regional street.
  • Boulevards flanking properties beside a regional street.
  • Ditches where grass has never been planted.
  • Boulevards at the rear of a property
  • Extended boulevards - meaning a boulevard that is at least 20' wide as measured from the roadway to the sidewalk or property line.
How will the By-law be enforced?
Designated city staff will conduct inspections, and will attempt to remedy anything outside of the by-law and will enforce the by-law or remedy a contravention of this by-law in accordance with The City of Winnipeg Charter.
When do I need to apply for a permit?
You are required to apply for a permit if:
  • Your boulevard beautification plans fall outside the guidelines listed above.
  • There is a possibility of damage to the boulevard as a result of proposed activity.
  • The safety of the public is at risk while the proposed activity takes place.
  • Parking on the boulevard or driving over the boulevard.
  • Riding a horse on the boulevard.
  • Storing material (other than soil) on the boulevard.
  • Conducting business on the boulevard.

Plus the following boulevards are exceptions and a permit is required:

  • Boulevards beside a regional street.
  • Boulevards flanking properties beside a regional street.
  • Ditches where grass has never been planted.
  • Boulevards at the rear of a property.
  • Extended boulevards - meaning a boulevard that is at least 20' wide as measured from the roadway to the sidewalk or property line.
Is there a charge for a permit?
Yes. Find the current fee in the City of Winnipeg Documents Page: Fees and Charges Schedule: Parks and Urban Forestry: Parks and Open Space - Administration Charges: Non-standard boulevard treatment permit fee.
How do I apply for a permit?

If your boulevard beautification plans fall outside the guidelines listed above you will require a permit. You have a number of choices:

You can download and complete the Non-Standard Boulevard Treatment form, then send it to the Public Works Department at 105 - 1155 Pacific Ave.

Contact a Public Works Parks & Open Space Division Technician at:

311 (North, South or East areas)

  • They will mail, e-mail or fax an application form to you.
  • To complete this form you will need to provide detail on what you are proposing to place or plant on the boulevard, a site plan and contact information.

OR

Visit the Public Works Customer Service desk at 1155 Pacific Ave.

  • Ask to speak to one of the park technicians that are available.
  • They will have an applicaton that you can complete on the spot or take home with you.
  • To complete this form you will need to provide detail on what you are proposing to place or plant on the boulevard, a site plan and contact information

Once you have completed the applicaton, a Parks and Open Space Division representative will assess your request. This representative will contact you by phone, and once approved a payment will be required and a permit will be mailed to you at the contact information provided.

To maintain the safety of all citizens, we are reminding anyone who is carrying out excavation or plantings on or near boulevards to Click before you dig.

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Secton 8 of the Neighbourhood Livability By-law:

PART 8
BOULEVARD MAINTENANCE
Definitions

86. In this Part “adjacent”, when referring to the proximity of boulevards to private property, includes boulevards that are separated from private property by sidewalks; “shrub” means a woody plant smaller than a tree and having a very short stem with low branches; “tree” means any species of woody plant which, at maturity, is usually 5 or more metres in height, having one or more self-supporting trunks and includes the roots, branches, trunk, crown and all parts thereof.

Obligation to maintain boulevard
87(1) Subject to the provisions of this section and section 87, the owner and occupant of property adjacent to a boulevard are each responsible for maintaining that portion of the boulevard that is adjacent to the property and are each guilty of an offence under this By-law for failing to do so.

87(2) The obligation imposed in subsection (1) includes the obligation to ensure that no aspect of the boulevard nor anything located on the boulevard contravenes the restrictions on non-standard boulevard treatments set out subsection 88(3) or, alternatively, that the boulevard fully complies with a permit issued under section 89.

87(3) The obligation imposed in subsection (1) includes the obligation to (a) keep turf and any vegetation that has not been planted pursuant to this By-law or the designated employee's authorization trimmed to a maximum length of 15 cm (6 in); (b) ensure that vegetation that has been planted, other than turf, is no more than 1.0 m (39 in) in height; and By-law No. 1/2008 52 (c) ensure that the boulevard is kept free of garbage.

87(4) The obligation imposed in this section applies whether or not a non-standard boulevard treatment has been applied to the boulevard.

87(5) The obligation imposed in subsection (1) does not include the responsibility to maintain trees within the boulevard and does not supersede any Policy adopted by the City respecting the removal of trees from boulevards.

Exceptions
88. The obligation imposed in section 85 and the authorization provided in section 87 do not apply to the following: (a) boulevards adjacent to regional streets listed in Schedule “E” of the Streets By-law No. 1481/77; (b) boulevards flanking properties adjacent to regional streets listed in Schedule “E” of the Streets By-law No. 1481/77; (c) ditches in which turf has never been planted; (d) boulevards located at the rear of a property; (e) extended boulevards. Authorization for non-standard boulevard treatments

89(1) Without restricting the obligation imposed under section 85 and subject to the provisions of this Part, the owner or occupant of property may apply a non-standard treatment to that portion of the boulevard that is adjacent to the property.

89(2) Prior to making any excavation in a boulevard, the owner or occupant of property must contact owners of utilities and other underground structures to ensure that no underground structures will be disturbed or damaged by the proposed excavation.

89(3) The owner or occupant of property need not obtain a permit under this Part to apply a non-standard boulevard treatment under subsection (1) if the non-standard boulevard treatment: (a) does not interfere with the movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon the right of way; By-law No. 1/2008 53 (b) does not obscure the sightlines of pedestrians or drivers of vehicles; (c) does not obscure or obstruct access to (i) fire hydrants; (ii) installations belonging to the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro or Manitoba Telephone System; or (iii) post office boxes located in the boulevard; (d) does not inhibit or obstruct snow removal operations, including the storage of snow removed from the roadway or sidewalk; (e) does not include any object weighing more than 10 kilograms; (f) does not include vegetation that is or will be more than 1.0 m in height when fully grown; (g) does not include a shrub or shrubs; (h) does not include noxious weeds as defined in The Noxious Weeds Act; (i) does not include a plant that is a fruit or vegetable; (j) does not include vegetation other than turf located within 1.0 m from the curb; (k) does not include vegetation other than turf within 0.5 m from the public sidewalk; (l) does not harm a tree planted in the boulevard; (m) does not result in trees planted or removed except to the extent authorized under the tree removal policy of the City of Winnipeg; (n) does not result in the placement of aggregate materials smaller than 20 mm (¾ in) or greater than 40 mm (1½ in) on the boulevard; (o) does not result in the placement of aggregate to a depth of more than 75 mm (3 in); (p) with the exception of concrete paving stones that are installed flush to grade, does not result in the placement of asphalt or concrete on the boulevard; (q) does not create or widen a private access for which a permit is required under the Private Approaches By-law or a successor by-law; (r) ensures that the boulevard is graded so that water flows from the edge of the street into the roadway and that vegetation or objects do not obstruct rainwater and snow melt from flowing from the edge of the street into the roadway; and (s) in the absence of an agreement with the owner of neighbouring property, does not allow non-standard vegetation to spread beyond that portion of the boulevard that is adjacent to his or her property.

89(4) Where a non-standard boulevard treatment results in the undermining or failure of the adjacent roadway, the owner of the property adjacent to the boulevard to which a non-standard treatment has been applied must pay a fee equal to the reasonable costs of replacing the non-standard boulevard treatment with turf.

Other non-standard treatments

90(1) Except as authorized in section 87, a person must not apply a non-standard treatment to a boulevard without a permit issued by the designated employee.

90(2) A person must not apply a non-standard treatment to a median or traffic island without a permit issued by the designated employee.

90(3) The designated employee may issue a permit for a non-standard treatment pursuant to subsections (1) and (2) only if he or she is satisfied that the non-standard treatment:
(a) will comply with applicable by-laws;
(b) will not
(i) interfere with the movement of vehicular or pedestrian traffic upon the right of way;
(ii) obscure the sightlines of drivers of vehicles or of pedestrians;
(iii) obscure or obstruct access to fire hydrants or installations belonging to the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Hydro or Manitoba Telephone System;
(iv) inhibit or obstruct snow removal operations, including the storage of snow removed from the roadway or sidewalk; or
(v) cause damage to the roadway or any installation of the City; and
(c) is otherwise in the public interest.

Items placed in boulevard become City property

91. Where a person is authorized by or pursuant to this By-law to apply a non-standard boulevard treatment to a portion of the boulevard or a non-standard treatment to a median or traffic island, the authorization is granted subject to the condition that any
(a) vegetation planted on;
(b) items placed on and affixed to; and
(c) improvements made to; the boulevard, median or traffic island become the property of the City of Winnipeg and are subject to removal or destruction by the City, or with the authorization of the City, without any obligation on the City to replace or repair them or to compensate the owner or occupant of the property for their loss or destruction.

Damage to boulevards

92(1) Subject to sections 87 and 88, in the absence of a permit issued by the designated employee, a person must not
(a) break, dig up, remove, injure, damage or deface trees, shrubs, plants or turf located in a boulevard;
(b) make an excavation deeper than 30 centimetres (one foot) into a boulevard;
(c) subject to subsection (2), deposit or store any substance upon a boulevard.

92(2) Notwithstanding clause (1)(c), the owner or occupant of property adjacent to a boulevard may deposit soil or well-rotted lawn dressing on a boulevard for up to seven days.

92(3) A person must not make an excavation into a boulevard unless he or she has first contacted owners of utilities and other underground structures to ensure that no underground structures will be disturbed or damaged by the proposed excavation.

92(4) The designated employee may issue a permit for the activities referred to in this section after taking into account:
(a) the possibility of damage to the boulevard or anything located in or under the boulevard as a result of the proposed activity;
(b) the safety of the applicant, motorists, pedestrians and others while the activity takes place;
(c) other relevant facts; and may impose reasonable conditions on the authorization.

Director may enter into agreements

93. The Director of Public Works of the City of Winnipeg may enter into and execute agreements with individuals, businesses, organizations or groups that are consistent with other By-laws and Policies, to plant, prune, protect, nurture or remove trees in the right of way.


Last update: June 19, 2017
Contact the Public Works Department
General Office Hours
8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monday to Friday
1155 Pacific Avenue
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 3P1

Phone, Fax, Email: 311