WARMINGTON: ‘Iceberg’ homes a cause of neighbourhood concern

Article content

When you see an iceberg, you know that 90% of its mass can be found below an ocean’s surface.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

But with iceberg homes, there’s no way to tell from looking at it from the street how deep builders have gone or just what these mega-basements are being used for.

So, Councillor Jaye Robinson presented to Toronto city council this week a motion to have a full study into the new phenomenon in construction that allows those with the means to build down and not just up.

“Iceberg houses can have significant impacts on the environment and neighbouring properties, including soil permeability and erosion, mature tree injuries and removals, drainage and stormwater management, and collapsing neighbouring foundations,” Robinson has told her Don Valley West (Ward 15) constituents.

Since there was no opposition to her call, city officials will take a complete look at this new way of getting around height restrictions.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

Robinson’s motion called on city council to “direct the chief planner” to “report back on strategies to address the impacts of developments referred to as iceberg houses” which are “single-family detached dwellings with multi-storey basements that extend significantly beyond the surface footprint of the building.”

This stems from a current build on Knightswood Rd. in Hoggs Hollow that will see a two-storey basement extended under the property’s backyard where a 250-year-old maple tree was recently removed.

“The Don River runs through the middle of our community and the entire neighbourhood is riddled with underground rivers and springs” and “some sections of the area are in a flood plain,” said neighbour Shannon Rancourt.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

She added that when an iceberg development goes “two, three and sometimes four stories deep … water is displaced — it needs to go somewhere.”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

There are fears that once trees, roots, and greenspace has been removed, there will be nothing to “draw up moisture” and serious problems could ensue.

The good news is the city’s experts will look into all. The bad news is it may be too late for this iceberg build and several others in the Bridle Path.

Building permits have already been issued. The Toronto Sun has reached out to the owner for his perspective on this situation on the project and will follow up with him should he would like to discuss his side of it

Meanwhile, as Parker Samuels, from Robinson’s office explained, this motion will help the city get ahead of this issue to understand how to manage it before it turns into a major trend.

Advertisement

Story continues below

Article content

On one hand, the iceberg concept sounds kind of cool; somebody can build a large gym in their basement, have an elevator going up and down to a basketball court, bowling alley, or games room.

But what is neat and what construction is safe must be evaluated.

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

In the case of the Hoggs Hollow build, the process is complete and the project is set to go under construction. Still, Robinson was wise to ask for this study.

Lessons already learned from Europe show it’s all about the water below the surface. If there’s a lot of it, or if the development is near a river that could flood, there may be problems.

“This is essentially a ditch,” neighbour Laura Lamarche said of Hoggs Hollow. She worries too many iceberg builds in this neighborhood could become problematic.

Perhaps other sections of the city won’t have the same concerns as they do in Hoggs Hollow where the distant memory of Hurricane Hazel lingers.

In a free society, you don’t want to see an idea crushed just because it’s new.

When it comes to icebergs, it’s not what you see from the surface, but what’s happening below that can be important.

    Advertisement

    Story continues below

    Comments

    Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

    Share:

    Share on facebook
    Facebook
    Share on twitter
    Twitter
    Share on pinterest
    Pinterest
    Share on linkedin
    LinkedIn
    On Key

    Related Posts

    On AIR

    Russtrat world

    Erdogan’s Syrian Trap

    MOSCOW, 24 Oct 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute. The Anadolu news agency circulated a tough statement made by President Erdogan about Turkey’s readiness to “use heavy weapons

    Drone attack on Uncle Sam

    MOSCOW, 23 Oct 2021, RUSSTRAT Institute. As CNN reported, citing sources in the Pentagon, an attack was carried out on a US army military base