Please Keep Our Neighbourhoods Clean!

Reflecting on my work activities with the Selkirk Avenue BIZ and surrounding neighbourhoods this summer, it upsets me that littering in the Mynarski Ward is a disgusting big problem.  This poor attitude occurs in both the North End and West Kildonan.  People need to have more respect for how other people’s and their neighbourhoods look.  People’s yards and homes need to look good as well.  It is very difficult to solve problems of crime and poverty when there looks like there is no hope.

A number of people complimented the work on Selkirk Avenue and surrounding neighbourhoods, but many of the student workers are off to college and university.  This rant brings me to difficult cases of homes and businesses looking hopeless.  The City cannot directly force someone to do something.  Inspections, orders, and fines or fees don’t seem to work for some people.  Residents call my office in frustration, but there is little that can be done aside from enforcing by-laws.

Councillors receive monthly 311 reports.  Besides garbage system and bulk dumping complaints, by-law enforcement issues are the largest number of cases in the Mynarski Ward.  Renters, landlords and home owners are all part of the problems in this 311 category.  What used to be called “community health”, now called “by-law enforcement”, is made up of a number of Neighbourhood Livability By-law and other by-law infractions related to housing as follows:

“Exterior of Building” – eaves troughs, siding, fascia, shingles, steps and hand railings, in disrepair or partially finished.

“Interior of Building” – faulty plumbing, mold, broken stairs, broken windows, and heating in bad shape.

“Miscellaneous Concerns” – anything not covered by the other categories.

“Yard & Accessory Buildings” – over grown grass, weeds, bushes and trees; collections of scrap; sheds and garages in bad shape; and general garbage all over the yard.

From January 1, 2013 to August 31, 2013, 2,173 by-law enforcement service requests (cases) were called in or e-mailed by residents’ associations, business improvement zones, renters, neighbours and the city councillor and his assistant.  This spring By-law Enforcement blitzed two problematic neighbourhoods to get people to clean up their properties – both business and residential.  While not all of the service requests came from this blitz, there have been 1,663 “Yard & Accessory Buildings” cases for eight months.  There should be no need for this many complaints.

Please remind your families that littering is not acceptable, and spread the word that our neighbourhoods can be great places to live if we all take responsibility for our place.  The following is a table of all the complaints related to housing for the first eight months of 2013.

Community Health / By-law Enforcement Complaints in Mynarski Ward
  May Total
Housing Complaints: 94 109 116 332 465 455 300 302 2,173
Exterior of Building 8 11 18 40 40 36 18 25 196
Interior of Building 46 33 34 23 24 24 30 23 237
Miscellaneous Concerns 8 6 9 10 14 12 14 4 77
Yard & Accessory Buildings 32 59 55 259 387 383 238 250 1,663