Encroachment on City Property

An encroachment is any type of object or item that is constructed, erected, or placed on land that extends on, or over any municipal land. 

Encroachments can include, but are not limited to fences, accessory buildings, fire pits, vehicles, hot tubs, recreational vehicles, trampolines and gardens.

In April 2022, Council adopted an Encroachment Bylaw to help address properties that are encroaching on City land and greenspace.

The Encroachment Bylaw can be viewed online, here.

Why is it important to remove encroachments?

Encroachments have the potential to have significant impact on public lands, create safety issues and cost taxpayers money

  • Important drainage infrastructure is buried underground. Residents who build, drive, store items, and plant trees in these areas can harm infrastructure. The City has incurred significant costs to repair damage directly caused by encroachment. 
  • In areas surrounding our dike system, uncontrolled vegetation can affect the structural integrity of dikes, obscure visibility and impede access for inspection and maintenance, and hinder emergency flood fighting operations.
  • In all areas, the green space around homes and properties was not intended for personal use.

The City of Fernie is asking all property owners to remove any encroachments on municipal land.

All residents must ensure they understand where their property lines are to avoid encroaching onto City land.

Encroachment FAQs:

What should I do if I have an encroachment?

Residents must remove any personal property, objects, or structures encroaching on municipal land, and make alternate arrangements for storage moving forward. Failure to comply will require the City of move the encroaching items at the homeowner's expense.

What if the encroachment existed before I bought my house?

Awareness of property boundary lines is essential when buying or selling land. An encroachment is tied to the land and follows ownership of the property, regardless of how long it has been there, or who placed it there. Understanding where your property lines are will ensure you avoid unknowingly placing items outside your property or inheriting an existing encroachment.

How do I find out where my property line is?

Property owners can refer to any maps and documentation received when the property was originally purchased. To further understand if you are currently encroaching on City property, you may review Fernie's Civic Address Map with Imagery. Locate your property on the map and identify if any of personal property extends beyond your marked property line.

If further clarification is needed, please contact Bylaw Services at 250.423.2244 or email bylawservices@fernie.ca

How much time do I have to move my encroaching objects?

Bylaw Services has begun enforcing the Encroachment Bylaw and requires properties not in compliance to have all encroaching objects or structures removed by September 1, 2022.

Are there alternate options or exemptions?

In a small number of cases, a resident may apply for an Encroachment Agreement allowing their encroachment to remain on municipal lands.

The application process allows specific property owners to provide an explanation as to why they require the use of City land.

To apply, residents must download complete the following forms:

Applicants can submit completed forms in the following ways:

  • Electronically to bylawservices@fernie.ca
  • By mail to: Bylaw Services, P.O. Box 190, 501-3rd Ave, Fernie B.C. V0B 1M0
  • In-person at City Hall front counter

Properties with encroachments onto municipal lands zoned P2 (Parks & Open Spaces) do not qualify to apply for an Encroachment Agreement.

All encroachment applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Applying for an encroachment exemption does not mean it will be approved.

Any questions about the Encroachment Bylaw can be directed to Bylaw Services at 250.423.2244 or email bylawservices@fernie.ca