Written by Lawrence Newman
I’ve lived in Sandy Hill for nine years and I walk a lot through this lovely neighbourhood. One of the first things I noticed early is the large number of what appear to be rental houses. As I learned more about Sandy Hill and decided to write for IMAGE, I learned about “bylaw issues” and how they are connected to rental properties.
I also learned that Action Sandy Hill (ASH) had a committee especially staffed to deal with bylaw issues. This committee, Bylaw and Environment, is also known by a more common name, Noise and Garbage. Now you know what the challenges are.
Time advances and I’m now Action Sandy Hill’s Bylaw Committee chair. Although noise is still a problem, our biggest and continuing problem is the storage of garbage and recyclables. In July of last year, Our councilor, Mathieu Fleury, convinced city council to require all garbage and recyclables in Sandy Hill to be “not visible from the highway “, apparently, any street is a highway. At last count, about 200 properties in Sandy Hill were in violation of that bylaw.
It’s clear to most observers that properties with non-resident owners are the biggest and most consistent violators. We know that those properties, called by many of us “bunkhouses”, have been purpose built to house as many as 8 students per apartment, 32 per residence. The garbage and recyclables created by 32 residents on a property that once held a single family house is almost certain to create a big storage and handling problem – and it does.
The city Bylaw Services department has treated Sandy Hill as a special case. For us and only us, they have assigned two inspectors to deal with bylaw violations. One of the inspectors deals primarily with garbage violations. This is telling. No other ward in the city has dedicated inspectors and we still cannot seem to get ahead of garbage violators.
The way the process works now is that ASH and individuals report violators, the Bylaw Inspectors investigate and issue warnings. If violators don’t comply within approximately three days, a ticket is issued. You would think that this would solve the problem. The fact that we have a backlog of 200+/- cases tells otherwise.
There are two solution paths to this problem. Outlaw bunkhouses or provide Bylaw Services with more money and the mandate to pro-actively ticket violators. If parking violators get no warning, garbage violators should get none either. Please tell our mayor.
Contact your City Councillor and Mayor