Maintenance Archives - Northland Paving Toronto | Toronto Paving Company, Toronto Paving & Interlock Experts

Asphalt Policies in Scarborough

By | Asphalt, Consumer Protection, Maintenance, Northland, Residential | No Comments

The Planning and Growth Committee in the City of Toronto met January 8, 2015.  On the agenda was the Driveway Widening Policies for large lots in Scarborough.

Toronto Ward 43 Councillor Paul Ainslie brought the matter forward after hearing complaints from the constituents in his ward.  Northland Paving clients Wayne and Danielle Earle had reached out to him out of frustration when the city would not allow them to repair their existing driveway to its’ former glory.

We find it very frustrating at Northland Paving to try to explain to the residents of the eastern section of Toronto (Scarborough) why their properties cannot enjoy the same rights in terms of driveway size as other parts of the City.  Or why a new subdivision can build double width driveways on a 30 foot lot when they are not legally able to keep a double width driveway on their 60 foot lot if they have a single car garage.  In Scarborough the driveway must be the same size as the garage door.

The Planning and Growth Committee was unable to reach a decision with regards to the fate of the Earles’ driveway and that of the rest of the City east of Victoria Park.  They have referred the matter on to the Chief Planner and Executive Director of City Planning for a report on how the driveway widening policies differ throughout the City.  The Planning and Growth Committee will revisit the item on April 13, 2015.

Driveway Widening Policies for Large Lots in Scarborough – Committee Decision

Let’s hope the City will do right by its residents and allow  homeowners who have had an existing driveway for 10, 20 or 30 years the right to repair the surface to its original state.  Let’s hope Scarborough will be afforded the same rights and benefits as the rest of the City.

If you read this blog before April 13, 2015 please contact the Planning and Growth Management Committee or your City Councillor and let them know Scarborough residents seek equality.  Fair is fair.

Councillor Goes to Bat for Driveways!

By | Asphalt, Consumer Protection, Maintenance, Northland, Residential | No Comments

A big thank you from Northland Paving goes out to Toronto Councillor Paul Ainslie in Ward 43.

Councillor Ainslie is going to bat for Scarborough Driveways.  Ainslie will attempt to bring equal rights to Scarborough residents regarding their driveways!

During the last several years, the City of Toronto’s Scarborough By-law Officers have come down hard on enforcement regulating the size of private driveways in their part of the City.  It has become crystal clear that all Toronto residents are not treated equally.

Northland Paving customers Wayne and Danielle Earle were shocked to learn that the City would not permit them to repair their existing asphalt driveway.  This driveway had been in place as long as they owned their home.  The Earles sought to improve their property by restoring the existing asphalt surface.  The City will not allow the improvement to the existing asphalt driveway.  Enforcement Officers are insisting they reduce the size of the driveway to comply with the present by-law.  This driveway would be permitted elsewhere in Toronto.

The Earles approached Councillor Ainslie with their dilemma. This dilemma is faced by many residents of the east side of Toronto.  City Councillors are aware of this disparity.  Northland Paving has met with Councillors, Mayors and department heads regarding this issue.  However, Councillor Ainslie has finally taken the bull by the horns and decided to take steps in resolving the issue.

Toronto Ward 43 should be proud to have an elected official who understands the concerns of his constituents.  Even more proud that he takes the necessary steps to work on their behalf.  In this case, all of the Wards in Scarborough should offer a big thank you to Councillor Paul Ainslie as he works to give the east the same benefits as the rest of the City.

This is a link to the letter written by Councillor Ainslie to the Planning and Growth Committee:

This committee heard the issue for consideration on January 8, 2015.


Toronto Bylaw Battle: Residents forced reduce driveways.

By | Asphalt, Consumer Protection, Maintenance, Northland, Residential | No Comments

Here we go again!  The City wages war on Scarborough homeowners.  The following news story was on CTV News

It seems the City is redoing the curbs on Marta Avenue and has decided to not allow a ramp on the portion of the driveway that has been deemed “illegal” or “not to code”  regardless of how long the driveway has been that size.  Several home owners now have spray paint on their driveway where the City wants them remove that portion of asphalt and replace it with sod.  The result is frankly an eyesore, an added expense and a huge inconvenience for Scarborough homeowners.

The homeowners are justifiably upset by the fact that a neighbouring street had the same curb restoration done last year and none of the homeowners lost the use of the driveway portion deemed illegal.

There are so many reasons that this is just plain wrong!  We at Northland Paving have been told by the Zoning Dept. at City Hall that these driveways would be “grand-fathered” and allowed to remain.  Of course the Right-of-way-Management Dept. (who controls the City owned portion of the bottom of your driveway on your side of the sidewalk) will not allow it, no matter what.  We are unsure why they are so bothered with this part of the driveway in Scarborough.  We have yet to receive any pushback elsewhere in the City of Toronto for this.

The reasoning given by the City is flawed.  They will say it has to do with water drainage yet the homes in Scarborough that are targeted have more than enough green space for this to matter.  In fact, if permeable pavers are allowed to be used in this illegal area the water absorption would be greater than the replacement sod.  They say a walkway would be acceptable in this space but it is not the case, our clients have been forced to raise existing adjacent walkways or install curbs alongside of the walkway (but everything must remain flush with the sidewalk on the city owned portion of your walkway so as not to be a trip hazard or interfere with the snow plows) .  This is to insure you don’t park on this area and without regard to those in wheelchairs or walkers.

Most of the houses in central Scarborough were built in 1950’s – 1960’s on large 50 – 60 foot lots.  Our automotive needs were different back then as the City was smaller and most families only required one car therefore houses were built with one garage.  This is really where the issue lies.  The rules in Scarborough will not permit your driveway to be larger than your garage door.  As the City has grown based on highway development and not subway development and times have sure changed, most households need to rely on more than one car per family.

The only way to get around this legally would be to reconstruct the house and build a 2 car garage.  As drastic as this seems, you would legally be allowed to have a wider driveway.  If you knocked down the entire street and replaced those 50 – 60 foot lots with smaller semi’s or townhouses you would be hard pressed to find much green space at all for the water run-off.  It seems that water run off can’t really be an issue after all.

At the end of the day, why should the City really care about the size of your driveway?  As long as it is well maintained, sized tastefully leaving adequate green space and servicing the needs of the tax paying homeowner the City should get off your driveway and move on and find something of real importance to focus on.

Aftermath of Toronto’s Polar Vortex

By | Asphalt, Commercial, Maintenance, Northland, Residential | No Comments

Driveway devastation.

The great ice storm of 2013, frost quakes, polar vortex, wind chill factor and frost heaving all are terms we have heard far too long as Toronto strives to recover from the coldest winter on record for the past 20 years.

What is frost heaving and why is it effecting your driveway, patio, sidewalk and steps or retaining wall?

Moisture present in the soil will freeze and swell up.  The deeper the frost goes the further up these surfaces will raise.  Compounding the issue this spring is that the Toronto area experienced an unusually large amount of snow this past winter.  We had a few mild days absorbing the moisture from our melting snow and then got hit again with more cold weather freezing and swelling up the soil below our paved surfaces.

This winter has seen Toronto and its neighbouring Cities increase budgets for road repairs.  Many driveways have cracked due the heaving cycle and others have been damaged as snow ploughs have grabbed and peeled the edge of a swollen driveway.

The worst casualties will come from driveways and parking lots that were teetering on the edge of disrepair.

Northland Paving expects to see many road repairs in the summer of 2014 in the Toronto area.

From an industry perspective, it will be a late start to what will be a very busy 2014 paving season as frost is still present in the ground at this late date.


How to Choose the Right Paving Contractor

By | Asphalt, Consumer Protection, Maintenance, Northland, Residential | No Comments

In an industry riddled with fly-by-night operators and a new crop of paving scams surfacing every year, it is little wonder that consumers are often perplexed on how to find a reputable paving contractor in Toronto.

There are of course some online searches a consumer can perform to pre-screen the contractors they wish to obtain quotes from.

A few choices like HomeStars and the Better Business Bureau while being wonderful resources are not the only options.  Sometimes a disreputable contractor can have a wonderful website and a good honest contractor may not.

There are paving contractors in the GTA who operate under several different names or change names and phone numbers frequently once bad ratings are presented online, unhappy clients are calling or creditors are closing in on them.

How is a consumer to choose the right contractor? 

Northland Paving advises you to be diligent and do your homework.  With the right paving contractor your project should last for many years after your warranty expires.

Get 3 written quotations. 

Make sure everyone is quoting on the same specifications, if not why not?

Is someone selling you more than you need or less then you should have?

If a price seems too low or too good to be true, the contractor may be planning to take short cuts or skimp on materials.

If an unusually long warranty is offered, be alarmed.  The promise of an extended warranty means nothing if a company is unable or unwilling to honour it.

Check with online resources. 

There are several sites and online forums that can help provide information about the contractor you are about to hire.  HomeStars, BBB and are only a few of the options available.

How long has the company been in business? 

If a paving company tells you they have 30 years’ experience but the business is newly registered, perhaps this is a company who needs to change names frequently to avoid creditors, warranty work or bad online reviews.

Do they have an established place of business? 

It’s difficult to track a company who deals only out of the back of a pickup truck with a cell phone number and a PO Box for an address.  Check out their place of business to determine if this is really a company you feel comfortable dealing with.  If you think it’s too far for you to bother, chances are it will be too far for them to return and service your driveway or patio project should you require any warranty work.

Check their phone number on  Do a reverse search.  This will tell you if the phone number is legitimate or a cell phone that you will never be able to reach if they don’t want you to.

Is the paving contractor licensed and insured?

The City of Toronto and the City of Markham require paving contractors to be licensed to pave, this is the law.  The licensing process requires paving contractors to be insured.  Licensed contractors know how to install a legal driveway.  The City will ask you to restore an illegal driveway into compliance upon discovery regardless of how much money you spent to have it installed.

Licensing can be confirmed by clicking:  City of Toronto ,  City of Markham

Ask if the contractor is registered and in good standing with WSIB to stop any liability on your part should a worker become injured while working on your property.

Who did your friends use?

Word of Mouth is also one of the best methods in the decision making process.  If a paving contractor has been referred by someone you trust and they have been happy with the business practices and finished product then perhaps you will too.  A good contractor thrives on referral business.

A little time spent researching a company you plan to use and a good gut feeling, may help you avoid a nightmare down the road.

Last but not least, check out past finished projects in person.