Not unexpectedly, some people read yesterday’s post about Demolition by Neglect as an attack on the City, and a defence of bad landlords. It struck me as more than hypocritical that the City decides to enforce property standards strictly only when a certain property owner gets uppity. It still has sinister overtones of political payback and games playing that shouldn’t be going on.
Nonetheless, the story prompted three emails from residents in the Bell-Eccles area who have longstanding complaints about unsanitary conditions around Chinatown businesses * and certain very low-income / low-quality housing providers.
They provided these pictures, all taken a few days AFTER garbage collection. Which means people look at these messes for days and days until the next collection. And note that the garbage pile and the City-owned dumpster are in front yards, adjacent the sidewalk.
What about calling for bylaw enforcement? I “have called by law until I am blue in the face but nothing ever happens”. And ” If anything close to this was happening in the Glebe, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. I am not sure why the City feels its okay to let this happen in [our neighbourhood]”. In fairness, let me note that this is not exclusively an issue with private property owners in the area; I would cheerfully lump OCH in with the same bad lot.
The sense that property standards are enforced selectively, or that city services are unfairly distributed based on the wealth of the area, is common in Dalhousie. As a long time resident of the area, it is a view that is evidence-based.
I came across another example of the latter at a meeting earlier this week attended by numerous city staff and social agencies, who acknowledged the discriminatory proliferation of truck routes in Dalhousie and Carlington (lower income neighbourhoods) compared to higher income neighbourhoods [but do they do anything about it?]. Busier roads, less walkable streets, more traffic injuries (3 of the most dangerous 10 intersections for pedestrians in the city are in Dalhousie, blocks apart) results in residents relocating to other neighbourhoods when they make moving decisions.
Years ago I was offended by the comments of the Ex.Director of the local health centre saying Dalhousie was not a place where people wanted to stay, it was a stepping stone on the way to better places. Maybe that is city policy still.
Demolition by neglect, slumlording, trashing the streets and sidewalks … there is plenty of blame to go around.
*The Chinatown BIA has taken steps to improve street cleanliness and business garbage pickup. Yet it remains an ongoing issue with residents.