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Jill and David Murray were having a spat with their neighbour on Tremaine Terrace.  Seems his dog messed up  their garden and when they complained to him about that,  he made an official complaint about their boulevard.  Yes, they had a boulevard garden more than 8 inches high.  When that was settled to the satisfaction of the Murrays and the town he again complained.  This time about the sightline for the exit from his driveway onto the road.  This despite the fact that he had lived there for 3 years and never before complained.

43 Tremaine cresl-r  39 and 43 Tremaine cresSeems the 6 foot cedar hedge came down too close to the road (8 feet!); the property line was another 8 feet back so the hedge was really on the boulevard.  The interface with the Murrays was handled by Barry Thrasher, Deputy Director of Public Works. (Download his correspondence here).  No phone calls; no meeting; no attempt at reconciliation - just bombastic bureaucracy.  Even then, Barry cited no bylaw; gave no reason for the time limit. The Murrays gave detailed reasons why they thought their hedge was acceptable but Thrasher gave no response on these - just re-iterated his edict.

Can you see the trend here?  A citizen is using a Bylaw to settle a grudge and the Town is supporting that with no attempt to see both sides of the dispute.

All this (and more) was presented to Council on Monday night (Oct 21) by Jill Murray giving an impressive, rational, systematic and passionate presentation. The Council showed a lot of interest  - no doubt because it highlighted two issues:

  1. Why should citizens be allowed or encouraged to use Bylaws to settle grudges or as Stan Frost said: " I am concerned about people who use bylaw complaints in a vexatious manner".
  2. Why did Barry Thrasher immediately support such a clearly wrong complaint and why did he refuse to call or meet with the Murrays?  This point was (rightly) not discussed in public - but I hope he gets blasted behind closed doors.

A few questions from Councillors established:

  1. The hedge was far enough back;
  2. There had been no complaint for 3 years;
  3. Other nearby properties also have similar restricted sightlines.
  4. Steven Peacock confirmed the issue was sightlines not  the boulevard

Miriam Mutton felt uncomfortable about the issue so declared a conflict (Her fight with the town here).

After a short discussion, Council passed a motion to "quash the complaint".

Hopefully this sends a message to both citizens and staff that bylaw complaints are not to be used to settle a grudge.

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