Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have questions? Consult this section or ask your own…

Why does the municipality require us to have a permit or a certificate of authorization before we can start to do work?

A permit or a certificate of authorization for any project encompassed by these by-laws ensures that urban planning by-laws are respected (ex.: zoning, construction, subdivisions). Issuing permits and certificates are the basic means by which we verify what is done regarding urban development in the municipality.

Any person intending to construct, use land or a building in the municipality, must contact the inspector in charge of issuing permits and certificates.  The inspector determines what conditions must be met and the applicant will be informed as to what the by-laws require.

All permits or certificates are duly archived at the Town Hall. The permits allow us to trace the history of the work performed on a particular building or property.

Does the scale of the work determine whether we are required to get a permit or a certificate of authorization?

Regardless of the scale of the work to be done, you must obtain a valid permit or certificate of authorization.

How long does it take to obtain a permit or a certificate of authorization?

The permit can be issued within 24 to 48 hours from the time the inspector has received all pertinent documents. However, depending on the nature of the work, the inspector may need up to 21 days to grant a permit.

For how long is a permit or certificate of authorization valid?

A permit or certificate of authorization is valid for twelve (12) months.  However, you must begin the work within six (6) months of the date of issue. If no work has been done after six (6) months, the town could cancel the permit.

Can we begin the work before obtaining a permit or a certificate of authorization?

You must have a valid permit or certificate of authorization in hand before you begin the work.

What can we do in the following situations: the branches or roots of a tree on our neighbour’s land are protruding onto our land and water and snow from our neighbour’s roof is falling on us? 

You have the right to ask your neighbour to cut the branches or roots that protrude onto your land.  You also have the right to ask your neighbour to install a rain gutter or snow guard to prevent water or snow from falling on your property. In both cases, the Civil Code applies and the town cannot intervene. The Town of Dunham can, however, act as a mediator to help reach an agreement. You can also contact the Ministry of Justice at 1 866 536-5140 or by e-mail at

At what distance from the boundary separating us from our neighbour must we plant a tree or a hedge?

The distance must be large enough that the mature branches and roots do not protrude out onto your neighbour’s land.  Your neighbour is within his/her right to ask you to cut anything that encroaches on his/her land.

What is the procedure for making a complaint concerning urban planning by-laws?

All complaints must be made in writing (letter, town form, or e-mail). You must provide the full address of the offender, a description of the facts, your full address and your signature. No verbal or phone complaints will be processed.