Cornwall Ontario Property Standards Advisory Committee Member Resigns & Moves to South Stormont Over Messy City Properties!

Cornwall Ontario Property Standards Advisory Committee Member Resigns & Moves to South Stormont Over Messy City Properties!

liane trashCFN – Liane Geoffrion was a member of the newly formed Property Standards Advisory Committee in Cornwall Ontario.

liane comShe submitted this letter to the Editor after resigning from the Committee and moving to nearby Long Sault in South Stormont Ontario.

“Our story begins in 2011 when my husband and I moved to Cornwall and bought a house on a supposedly safe and quiet street.

 Within a few months, a neighborhood apartment complex became our worst nightmare with mountains of garbage bags, sofas and mattresses stored on porches and a different grocery buggy parked on the sidewalk every day.  

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Complaining to the city did not help; after 37 e-mails sent to Property Standards in 4 months, everyday more junk was accumulating and everyone was ignoring our problems. After 7 months of complaining with little success, I joined the City’s new Property Standards Advisory Committee.  The committee however, had no chair for the first 5 months and no set priorities! All the staff of Property Standards Department also attended meetings; they were not members of the committee but they loaded agendas and controlled discussions so that “lack of enforcement” issues could not be addressed.  

While I was working hard at representing frustrated citizens as myself, a “Salvage Yard” operation at the corner of Second St. and Carleton St. was added to the list of ongoing complaints.  Residents there were scavenging garbage all night and tearing things apart on their front lawn by day.  The wood and metal went to the recycling plant but the sofa stuffing and leftover junk was accumulating everywhere on the lawn. An unsightly business was developing rapidly without license and in a residential zone.  By mid-summer, five motor bikes were now revving or speeding up the street and the list of complaints was getting longer: drug runs, domestic violence and people chasing and screaming at each other in the middle of the night; the stress was unbearable.  

After 14 months, even though I was a member of this new committee, I still did not have the support of staff and, Councillors, Mayor, Clerk and CAO still would not reply to my personal e-mails. My husband and I finally gave up, sold our house, moved out of Cornwall and I resigned from the Advisory Committee.  It was a desperate decision considering our devalued property, the costs of moving not to mention recent surgery and the stress on seniors such as ourselves.

If you have similar stories and want to complain to the City, be prepared! There is: no central telephone number, no online “complaint form” and no phone numbers or emails addresses without a city contact name. Until recently, you could fill an online “Request for info” but there was no “send button”.  The telephone book is not helpful either! Did you know that: garbage bags at the curb and garbage bags on porches are handled by different departments and that Public Works has different staff for different sides of the street? Poop and scoop is handled by Animal Control but, feces accumulating on private properties is enforced by Property Standards. ATV’s racing on your streets, good luck with that one! Reporting a grocery buggy on municipal and private land is also a mystery; after 4 days of waiting for Public Works, I phoned No Frills who was on the scene within an hour.  

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Other cities have “complaint forms” and they list contact information on their webpage so you can actually make a complaint and track it until it’s resolved. In Cornwall, if a complaint manages to reach a real person, it doesn’t matter because there is no active enforcement in place to fix the problems and nothing to prevent repeat offences either.  

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Many excuses are given by the City for their “no enforcement” policy: insufficient by-laws, cost is too high, not enough staff and technology problems.  Interestingly enough, at a Council meeting August 2012, staff and resources were offered to Mr. Rogers, but the Supervisor of  Bylaw Enforcement replied: no thank you because: “I am aware of the city’s budget restraints!” Did I mention that his entire staff of five attended the Committee meetings (as resources) although they reported being overworked and understaffed?  As far as the high cost of enforcement, if fees had been imposed all these years with 2000+ complaints a year, revenues could have served to hire more staff and recover some of the cost. Another excuse used: Cornwall is a low socio-economic city; putting your garbage at the curb on time, poop and scooping, mowing your lawn does not cost you anything. Offenders and absent slum landlords should pay the consequences for not doing so!  

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We are also told that Cornwall has always been a friendly city so, enforcement must remain friendly.  Property Standards is in the enforcement business, not a social club; getting compliance is their mandate and cleaning up the city is a Council Strategic Planning priority.  In my opinion, the problem of enforcement is not complicated: if the complaint is valid, one stiff admin fee plus an inspection fees of $100.would go a long way to reduce the pile of complaints; add another re-inspection fee of $100. for each infraction repeated within a week or non-compliance.  This would look after offenders throwing friendly notices in the garbage. Brand new bylaws are coming soon but, without enforcement, nothing will change!

As citizens and taxpayers, we endure and fear retaliation from our neighbours because we complain; the City would rather protect the offenders, they have more rights than we do! To add insult to injury, if we complain too much, it is said that we put a burden on the precious city staff resources.  Offenders however, repeatedly ignore the bylaws and suffer no consequences whatsoever. No fines were ever issued by Nicole Robertson for garbage at curbs on the wrong day, a bylaw infraction. Garbage bags, mattresses, sofas and car seats stored on porches and lawns were not considered bylaw infractions by Chris Rogers either.

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In 2012, only 4 fines were issued and zero money was collected for the whole year. In the first half of 2013, they issued 9 fines on 332 construction complaints totaling $945.  and zero fines on 236 complaints for: tall grass, junk and debris, etc. A total of 600 inspections were done at no cost to offenders and 102 of these free inspections were to tell people they must cut their grass. This system of friendly notices is considered a success by this department but how can this be when not one penny was collected? How much did it cost in staff and resources; how many had to be given new notices again in a few weeks? What about: dilapidated houses, falling porches and railings, plastic garages and enclosed porches after May 1st, broken stairs and boarded up houses sitting for 20 years; there are dangerous and unsightly properties all over town but City Hall ignores their own bylaws!

The mess will reach your street any day now so, if you have been holding back from complaining or have given up in the past, please try the contacts below: your name must be kept confidential by City staff.  Not a sure fix but, you could overload their systems long enough to wake up the staff and Council.  Don’t forget, as Cornwall citizens, you pay the highest property taxes in Ontario for this mess to continue.  Let your voice be heard!  

CITY OF CORNWALL:  613-930-2787 plus ext. # below or main number 613-932-6252, cityhall@cornwall.ca,                 ChooseCornwall.ca;  KLajoie@cornwall.ca, Community Information Coordinator.

GARBAGE PROBLEMS:  at curbs and on the wrong day: ext 2589, Nicole Robertson, NRobertson@cornwall.com

PORCHES AND LAWNS: Garbage bags, debris, furniture, animal feces accumulation, building code infractions, fences and pool infractions, etc.: ext. 2345, Chris Rogers, CRogers@cornwall.com

ANIMAL CONTROL PROBLEMS: Poop and Scoop, misc. ext. 2339 or 2225   

UNLICENSED BUSINESS, SCAVENGING OF RECYCLING MATERIAL, SNOW PLOWS AND HEAVY EQUIPMENT PARKED IN RESIDENTIAL ZONES:  ext. 2365 Karl Doyle, KDoyle@cornwall.ca

GROCERY BUGGIES: call appropriate stores: Yellow: No Frills, Green: Food Basic, Blue: Wal-Mart, Red: Metro”

Editors note:  An email was sent to Councilors Maurice Dupelle & Bernadette Clement who sit on the board. 

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)

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32 Comments on "Cornwall Ontario Property Standards Advisory Committee Member Resigns & Moves to South Stormont Over Messy City Properties!"

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Venessa Anstey
Guest
Well said! Sorry you had to move, and myself having moved back to Cornwall from South Stormont due to a dilapidated property that had infractions out the wazoo I hope that never happens for you. I do agree whole heartedly that the people running this city are trying to run it into the ground it seems. These properties you speak of litter the entire east end but you’re a bad guy for consistently complaining y’know?! It’s ludicrous! Ppl renting in this city also want decent properties in which to raise our kids….not have them come outside to play only to… Read more »
Sinful-just-sinful
Guest

What a total disrespect to the people of Cornwall. For the city too allow this to go on is not acceptable. Here is a good example of how the Mayor and Council have failed us yet again.

If this was in their neck of the woods you can bet your last buck it would not be long before action was taken. But hey, lets get in a photo-op and fight over a green clothing bin because that’s more of a priority.

A CONCERNED TAXPAYER
Guest

Liane :
Thank you very much for having the guts to say it like you see it to be. With out question Cornwall has BIG PROBLEMS and those problems are effecting property values and turning certain areas of our city into slums. As you clearly point out the City is best at offering excuses as opposed to action and enforcement of their own By Laws . They need to clean up their act .

Once a resident
Guest

It appears that Corn-hole is starting to look like Detroit! Just a matter of time before it goes bankrupt.

reality check
Guest
Just who owns those green bins anyway? Is it a private business from outside of Cornwall ? if so ,do they pay city taxes that helps give grants to places like the Agape center. After all the Agape center needs the best cloths for our needy! do these bins affect the Agape center be nice to hear their opinion, if so thats a big issue that a big company sets up shop in Cornwall takes the best along with the clothes fit for rags and does not put anything back into the economy or do they? be a good topic… Read more »
420
Guest

Poor Muffin!
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1) Your property was devalued when you bought it.
2) You don’t move to a part of a city that has “Harlem” as the subject to an adjective.
3) Everybody knows that the grocery stores in Cornwall have ‘cart wranglers.’
4) Take a look at Toronto before you complain. No backyard goat slaughtering on Carleton.
5) Nothing wrong with showing off your indoor furniture in the summer.
6) “Fridge Farming” is a noble urban trade.

Toughen up. Sheesh!

Harry Valentine
Guest
If we choose to respect the concept of property rights, whatever peaceful activity people do on their private property ought to be NONE OF THE MUNICIPALITY’s business. If the activity of the neighbour causes a devaluation of somebody’s property, never mind the mayor of any town . . . hire a lawyer and initiate litigation against the offending neighbour . . . use the courts to make them pay compensation for having devalued your property. If neighbours along a street are all happy having sofas on their front porches, so be it . . . . mutual consent of the… Read more »
Smith
Guest

Another issue is as follows,
I am sure you will have more neighbours in South Stormont who work for the city then you did when you lived in Cornwall…

Kevin Hebert
Guest

I live beside the house in the photo. I’m sorry I was only able to read your story as a result to your move. I can say that we share your disgust and I have shared your story on my Facebook Feed (and it has since been shared from there). It’s unacceptable and we need to come together and VOICE our discontent.

https://www.facebook.com/kevin.hebert.9862/posts/10151572409412504?notif_t=like

Interesting
Guest

I don’t know, but every time I’ve contacted the City with the same problems you speak of, I’ve had immediate response and the garbage and unkempt yards were taken car of promptly…

THE BOSS
Guest
Hi Harry, If neighbours along a street are all happy having sofas on their front porches, so be it . . . . mutual consent of the entire community is peaceful democracy in action . . . . and none of the business of any municipal department. Instead of a committee of appointees and councillors, how about neighbour committees who can encourage and assist neighbours to grow gardens . . . even have annual contests for best garden. A more positive approach may go far in terms of beautifying some neighbourhoods. If neighbours along a street are all happy having… Read more »
Harry Valentine
Guest
How about a municipality with a BUM STANDARDS By-LAW . . . requiring that in the interest of public health and to reduce health care expenses, citizens will be required to maintain the measurement around their bums to 140-cms, measures all the way around. Anyone whose bum exceeds this measurement will receive a ticket from a by-law enforcement officer, who will have the authority to measure around citizens’ bums. Whereas a property standards by-law is open to interpretation, the bum standards by-law will be open to zero interpretation. Prior to the by-law being implemented, the medical officer of public health… Read more »
A CONCERNED TAXPAYER
Guest
Harry Valentine: You Comment “hire a lawyer and initiate litigation against the offending neighbor ” Most unlikely to ever happen in this town ( could be very dangerous ,costly and time consuming ). As I see it the By- Law Dept. should be doing their job, and I do believe they need help our City council has been and are not funding this Dept. with sufficient funds to do the job . This Dept.as well as being on short staff are all on Executive hours , what a great job to have : ( No one available after 5 pm… Read more »
reality check
Guest

just wait to the two bag limit goes into effect they have talked about !

Disgusting and shameful!!!!
Guest
Disgusting and shameful!!!!
Whatever became of pride and respect????? I don’t blame Liane for selling and moving from the eyesore that was becoming intolerable to her. The east end of Cornwall and we all know the area in question is disgusting. Anyone really look at those homes….they are so close to together that a fire could demolish a whole block add the garbage thats sitting on and around those homes its a catastrophe waiting to happen. It is deplorable that in this day and age that people will allow themselves to live in those conditions…It cost very little to clean a property up.… Read more »
Sapphire
Guest
Sorry that you had to move, I for one had the same experience (not as bad as you) on my street but it was finally resolved. It took the city almost 8 months to get through a neighbour’s head that you need to keep your property neat and tidy but eventually they moved out but left the landlord with a huge mess. It took the landlord almost 2-3 weeks to clean the garbage out of the house and they had hired professionals to do the cleaning. Other times that I called the city they have acted on my complaint in… Read more »
Smith
Guest

Im with Harry, what is next?

Speed limits? Requirements for smoke detectors? The removal of lead from gasoline?

Honestly, where do you people stop?

Right Said Fred
Guest

These people will do anything not to get a real job because a pension is the easy way yet can work their ass off to steal and recycle junk, trash property that they could never own, disrespect peoples homes around them and other people for the matter.

How come you can walk out of a store with a bag of milk and get arrested for theft yet those lazy ass police officers we have never stop and arrest someone for walking out of the same store and walking off with the stores shopping cart?? Go figure that one out.

Sapphire
Guest
It’s all about respect. If you do not have respect for yourself then you will never have respect for others. So go live in a jungle if you don’t want to abide by the city by-laws of being tidy and neat. Who will support you then, I don’t think you realize that your money that you receive monthly from Ontario Works/ODSP comes from us the taxpayers yes us HELLO? some of these imbeciles thinks that it comes from the government yes it does but it is us the taxpayers that contributes from our paycheques (deductions) weekly to support you…YOU SHOULD… Read more »
reality check
Guest
Harry has some good points of course always does however things like taking lead out of gas thats a good thing Smith because it stops it from entering our body the problem with governments is that the pendulum always swings way pass center pushed by groups that start with a good idea and then it grows as it gains momentum just look at the laws facing farmers all in the name of water quality .We see water for sale in bottles at the local gas station exceeding the price of gas water is becoming big business and it predicted it… Read more »
Reg Coffey
Member

I think we need some kind of signal or indicator when a poster is being sarcastic. There seems to be quite a bit of misunderstanding going on here.

Or maybe it’s just me who hopes that some of these comments are supposed to be sarcastic and not real opinions.

Harry Valentine
Guest
The property standards by-law will definitely be enforces in the low-income areas of Cornwall . . . . and we have a municipal election due in 2014. There is usually a high voter turnout in the low-income areas as many of the residents receive some form of social support from the government . . . and many of these people and their residences will be the target for property standards enforcement. Political candidates seeking election may choose to offer some concessions to the low-income earners and residents who receive social support . . . . by some co-incidence, they would… Read more »
Harry Valentine
Guest

Several health care facilities have the equivalent of a Body Odour (BO) by-law in effect . . . mainly aimed at women who wear too much perfume and scent. A woman may be asked to leave the premises if the ‘over-powering’ scent of the Chanel #5 is deemed to be too ‘offensive’. At some public buildings, a uniformed officer may even escort an ‘offender’ off the premises.

The same goes for some one who is wearing no perfume and who is economizing on soap and water

Jane Doe
Guest
I live in a new house in the North end… The folks behind me on the other street who have not had neighbors for 17 years did not like us moving in and they all have sheds at the back of their property… three feet of course from the property line…Most of them had fences that we could not see through They put all objectionable stuff behind there shed and I have to look it from my yard.. I called the city and asked if this was legal and yes it is. .I truly believe that this is an old… Read more »
jules
Guest
LOL LOL ROLF! I just came on after an absence of family sick and this tickled my fancy. When we lived in Cornwall we saw plenty and when we would report things (all kinds of different things including dogs running loose on our property and deficating) the city said that they had no by-law. The east end has always been “Harlem” but now it is a great deal worse. Jane Doe I too lived in the north end but not quite as north as where you are and I can imagine that you have a nice home and the lady… Read more »
Jane Doe
Guest
I really do not like living in Cornwall but to move again for me it is just to much.. Yes I heard the east end is bad, crack houses, prostitutes and it is scary on Mtl road.. I looked at condos in the cotton mill area with my son and i said no way i am not living down here good grief i want to go out.. and yet many homes are very highly priced and seem to be going up all the time. .I do not get it.. and taxes are outrageous.. Glad you are enjoying Ottawa.. I like… Read more »
madamepatate
Member

So glad i don’t have to live in such a low class city anymore ,i drove through last week and it looks worse than ever, this must be a city born out of experimental testing because its to bizarre to explain the way it is. Makes for fun reading!

jules
Guest
Jane Doe I wanted to add a few more things here. When we first came to Ottawa we went walking in the park where we always walk and we saw some squirrels with colored neck bands on them and we asked people who work in the park why the squirrels had those neck bands and the man said that some crazy woman who was a teacher was keeping squirrels in her house and the neighbors reported her and took out all the squirrels and had her committed. If there are strange things happening inside people’s homes and apartments by-law officers… Read more »
jules
Guest

“silentfrancoamerican” my husband had quite a joke here with me saying if this is how Cornwall keeps their properties then he can get himself a goat and put it down there and everyone can have fresh milk. He added chickens and other farm animals to the list as well. With a little extra flagilation of farm animals at least people can have good food on the table. LOL LOL. What’s next “Sanford and Son’s junkyard”.

Furtz
Member

@ Jules. If you mean a little flagellation of farm animals, the SPCA would soon be involved and probably lay charges. 🙂

jules
Guest

Furtz it wouldn’t hurt the premises at least the animals can fertilize and give food. It may improve the place somewhat. The place looks more like the city dump or Sanford and Son’s junkyard and the animals would improve the place somewhat. LOL LOL. ROLF!

6133630732/mojr
Guest

THANK YOU FOR THIS OPPORNUNITY TO REQUEST ANSWERS TO THE FOLLOWING:
CONCERNING ADRESSS #112 7 STREET WEST- IS IT A BUILDING LOT&WHAT MAXIMUM SQUARE FOOTAGE FOR A POSSIBLE BONGALOW

MAURICE L LAFONTAINE

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