Ditches and Swales Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I fill in the ditch along my backyard?

    It is not recommended. The ditches along backyards are swales, constructed for the purposes of overland drainage of properties towards catch basins. If they are filled, or impeded in any way, it may cause flooding of neighbouring properties upstream. The Common Law can be referred to in these instances where private property disputes arise as a result of one neighbour blocking or no longer willing to accept the drainage of another. The filling-in of swales or ditches within subdivisions, may subject you to required permits form the City.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Is there a by-law to restrict my neigbour from emptying his pool onto the swale?

    No. Flooding out a neighbour in this manner is a civil issue. Try talking to your neighbour to discuss alternative drainage options. Make notes and take pictures of the damages and make insurance claims if necessary. The City has no obligation morally or financially to rectify these types of civil matters.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • What is a Ditch?

    Ditches are typically natural narrow channels, or channels dug into earth, used for the conveyance of drainage or irrigation of land.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works, Rear Yard Drainage

  • What is a Swale?

    Swales, although similar to ditches, are low valley-like intersections between properties, usually more moist and having more growth of vegetation than ditches. They are also used for the conveyance and retention of drainage and irrigation of land, however are usually located along the rear yards of properties.

    Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Who is responsible for maintaining the ditches or swales in my back yard?

    Swales and ditch maintenance are the responsibility of the individual home owner to ensure proper conveyance of drainage flows to a sufficient outlet as designed and accepted during subdivision development. Current and potential homeowners are encouraged to ask their real estate representatives and/or legal representatives for this information, especially when easements may exist on specific properties.Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works

  • Why hasn't the City cleaned the ditch in front of my property?

    For the remainder of the year, City ditching crews will focus on finishing areas in progress and reaching as many new areas as possible.  Requests to revisit areas will be considered based on urgency as assessed by the City.  Ditching efforts in 2016 have been challenged by several factors including extended service areas and resource shortages.  Available resources continue to be employed to address these challenges as efficiently as possible.  We regret any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your continued patience.  Requests for service can be directed to our Municipal Service Centre at 905-356-1355 ext 6200 or [email protected].

    Categories: Ditches and Swales, Municipal Works