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E-BLAST: Spring Has Sprung! Neighbourhood Reminders

Spring has sprung! Here in Don Valley North, that means many of us are out and about enjoying our beautiful neighbourhoods, parks, and ravines. It also means we're noticing some of the local issues that are hidden in winter. Around this time of year, my office gets an uptick in calls about a number of problems as folks begin exploring their neighbourhoods again. Today, I'm going to run through some of the most common issues we encounter this time of year, share some helpful reminders, and talk about the process to get these problems solved.

Plow Damage to Boulevards and Lawns

This is by far the number one issue my team has been hearing about for the past month. As I shared in an E-Blast earlier this year, we had a rocky start to our new winter services contract. Unfortunately, by some combination of equipment and operation, snow and sidewalk plows have done a real number on our boulevards and lawns. This tends to be the case in the first year or two of a new contract as the operators get used to our neighbourhoods, but this year was particularly rough.

An example of a city boulevard that was dug up by a sidewalk plow. Thank you to the residents who diligently reported this to my office. My team reported it to staff to ensure the location will be repaired.

If part of your lawn or boulevard was dug up by a plow, or you notice plow damage in your neighbourhood, report it to 311. You can report by phoning 3-1-1 or completing a quick online form at the link below:

Once you report, our Transportation Services department will add your address to the queue to be repaired. Their goal is to complete repairs by early summer, but this timeline can be pushed depending on the availability of sod and the number of locations they need to address. Given how extensive the plow damage has been this year, I anticipate that restoration will take a little longer than usual.

I also want to reassure you that the City does not foot the bill for these damages. The City coordinates the repairs, but the winter maintenance contractors are fully responsible for the cost of all sod damages they cause. I have also submitted an item to the Infrastructure & Environment Committee requesting a comprehensive review of our new winter maintenance contractors given the wide variety of issues we've experienced this year, including sod damage. I'll be sure to keep our community updated on the outcome of this review.

Property standards

This is also the time of year when homeowners need to give their properties a little extra TLC. The number one property standards issue my office usually hears about in the warmer months is overgrown grass and weeds. As a reminder, property owners are responsible for cutting the grass and controlling the noxious weeds on their property, including the boulevard in front of and beside your home. Landlords are also responsible for this on their properties, unless they make an arrangement with their tenants.

An example of overgrown grass and weeds on a city boulevard.

The City recently updated its grass and weeds bylaw to better allow for pollinator-friendly gardens and other alternatives to traditional lawns. Under the new bylaw, you must keep turfgrass (traditional grass) shorter than 20 cm tall, keep your property free of prohibited plants (like poison ivy, ragweed, and other toxic and invasive plants), and ensure that your lawn/garden doesn't obstruct sidewalks/roadways or obstruct traffic sightlines. You can learn more at the link below:

Beyond lawn care, homeowners also have to keep their properties tidy and free of litter, debris, and clutter. If you notice any property standards issues in your neighbourhood, these can also be reported to 311.

Proper Waste Set-Out

As we get through our spring cleaning, inside our homes and out, we need to make sure we're setting out our waste properly. You can find all the information you need about proper set-out for bins, yard waste and oversized items; how to sort your garbage, recycling and organics; when to set out your waste; and more on the City's website below:

If your waste collection is missed, you need to report it to 311 after 5 PM on the day of your collection and before 5 PM on the next day (within 24 hours). If you're experiencing repeat issues with waste collection, reach out to my office and we'll help get it sorted out for you.

This photo shows an overflowing blue bin. If your bins are frequently overstuffed, it may be time to switch to a larger size.

My office is also hosting a Community Environment Day this coming Tuesday, May 16. This is a chance for you to drop off electronic and household hazardous waste, pick up free compost for your garden, and donate gently used items like clothing, books, small household items, and more. I hope to see you there!

Parking Reminders

To close off, I also want to share a few reminders about parking. This is an issue in our neighbourhoods year-round, but I think some of these problems can be sorted with a few gentle reminders.

There are two broad types of parking concerns: on-street and off-street. On-street parking concerns include things like:

  • Parking beyond a timed limit (Most of our streets in Don Valley North are subject to an unsigned three-hour parking maximum)

  • Parking facing the wrong direction

  • Parking in front of a driveway, fire hydrant, bus stop, or stop sign

  • And more

On-street parking complaints are handled by Toronto Police parking enforcement officers. You can report parking issues to Toronto Police online, or by calling their non-emergency number at 416-808-2222.

When a car is illegally parked off road, it leaves police jurisdiction and becomes a bylaw issue. Parking on your lawn is a pretty clear property standards infraction, but some people may not know that parking on the paved portion of your boulevard is a bylaw infraction as well.

An example of illegal boulevard parking.

If you notice cars parked improperly on a neighbour’s property, once again, this gets reported to 311. Often, removing these cars takes a couple of months, as the bylaw department has to provide a written warning and wait a certain amount of time before serving legal action. You’re welcome to get in touch with my office if it relates to a chronic issue so that we can stick with the case until we get a result. I know that many of you are out and about in the warm weather noticing things for me. Thanks for being my eyes on the street. You're always welcome to get in touch with my office about any issues you notice in the neighbourhood. My team is more than happy to point you in the right direction and follow up with City staff on your behalf when needed. I hope this information and these reminders help all of us look after our wonderful neighbourhoods here in Don Valley North in the months ahead.


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