City’s environmental bylaw squad swarming properties, looking for infractions

News Aug 20, 2009 Ancaster News

The above average rainfall Hamilton has experienced this summer may have scuttled backyard barbecues and golf outings, but it has been a boon to lawns and weeds. And that’s when the city’s municipal law enforcement staff takes notice.

If your grass or weeds are over eight inches high, or if your waste containers and garbage are strewn about the property, expect a visit from the city’s environmental enforcement team.

This pilot program initiated by Stephen Bailey, superintendent of municipal law enforcement, was conceived to cut down the number of bylaw complaints the city normally receives during the summer.

On average from June to August, the city receives 1,200 complaints about messy lawns, old clunkers in the driveways and waste blowing around a property. Between 300 and 400 complaints are cleared.

For June and July this year, complaints from residents have already reached 1,200.

Mr. Bailey’s initiative included hiring four students to help educate residents about the basic no-no’s of the city’s bylaw involving yard maintenance and garbage. The students are sent out across Hamilton to follow up on complaints, and while they are out and about, they check up on neighbouring properties.

As of early August, said Mr. Bailey, the program has already earned its value.

The department has had a 90 per cent compliance rate, and cleared about 900 complaints as of June 1, said Mr. Bailey.

“This is about educating residents, providing them with bylaw 101,” said Mr. Bailey, who researched what other municipalities have implemented and adapted the programs to Hamilton.

“The strongest component, though, is educating residents,” he said.

When told about a bylaw infraction, the majority of homeowners readily complies, usually because they just didn’t know about it, said Mr. Bailey.

For the other 10 per cent of complaints, some people get upset, he said. Most of the time the complaints will be about properties that are owned by absentee landlords, he said.

The students don’t lay charges, but review and take down information about a property, said Mr. Bailey.

The city follows up with another visit and owners are warned again and issued a second order. The owner is charged for the second visit at $233 a pop. If the yard or waste problem remains, the city cuts the grass or picks up the trash, either using its own employees or hires a contractor. The cost is charged on the property owner’s tax bill, said Mr. Bailey. As of the end of July, the city had laid 13 charges under the bylaw.

To lodge a complaint about long grass and weeds, residents can call 905-546-2489, or email mle@hamilton.ca .

City’s environmental bylaw squad swarming properties, looking for infractions

News Aug 20, 2009 Ancaster News

The above average rainfall Hamilton has experienced this summer may have scuttled backyard barbecues and golf outings, but it has been a boon to lawns and weeds. And that’s when the city’s municipal law enforcement staff takes notice.

If your grass or weeds are over eight inches high, or if your waste containers and garbage are strewn about the property, expect a visit from the city’s environmental enforcement team.

This pilot program initiated by Stephen Bailey, superintendent of municipal law enforcement, was conceived to cut down the number of bylaw complaints the city normally receives during the summer.

On average from June to August, the city receives 1,200 complaints about messy lawns, old clunkers in the driveways and waste blowing around a property. Between 300 and 400 complaints are cleared.

For June and July this year, complaints from residents have already reached 1,200.

Mr. Bailey’s initiative included hiring four students to help educate residents about the basic no-no’s of the city’s bylaw involving yard maintenance and garbage. The students are sent out across Hamilton to follow up on complaints, and while they are out and about, they check up on neighbouring properties.

As of early August, said Mr. Bailey, the program has already earned its value.

The department has had a 90 per cent compliance rate, and cleared about 900 complaints as of June 1, said Mr. Bailey.

“This is about educating residents, providing them with bylaw 101,” said Mr. Bailey, who researched what other municipalities have implemented and adapted the programs to Hamilton.

“The strongest component, though, is educating residents,” he said.

When told about a bylaw infraction, the majority of homeowners readily complies, usually because they just didn’t know about it, said Mr. Bailey.

For the other 10 per cent of complaints, some people get upset, he said. Most of the time the complaints will be about properties that are owned by absentee landlords, he said.

The students don’t lay charges, but review and take down information about a property, said Mr. Bailey.

The city follows up with another visit and owners are warned again and issued a second order. The owner is charged for the second visit at $233 a pop. If the yard or waste problem remains, the city cuts the grass or picks up the trash, either using its own employees or hires a contractor. The cost is charged on the property owner’s tax bill, said Mr. Bailey. As of the end of July, the city had laid 13 charges under the bylaw.

To lodge a complaint about long grass and weeds, residents can call 905-546-2489, or email mle@hamilton.ca .

City’s environmental bylaw squad swarming properties, looking for infractions

News Aug 20, 2009 Ancaster News

The above average rainfall Hamilton has experienced this summer may have scuttled backyard barbecues and golf outings, but it has been a boon to lawns and weeds. And that’s when the city’s municipal law enforcement staff takes notice.

If your grass or weeds are over eight inches high, or if your waste containers and garbage are strewn about the property, expect a visit from the city’s environmental enforcement team.

This pilot program initiated by Stephen Bailey, superintendent of municipal law enforcement, was conceived to cut down the number of bylaw complaints the city normally receives during the summer.

On average from June to August, the city receives 1,200 complaints about messy lawns, old clunkers in the driveways and waste blowing around a property. Between 300 and 400 complaints are cleared.

For June and July this year, complaints from residents have already reached 1,200.

Mr. Bailey’s initiative included hiring four students to help educate residents about the basic no-no’s of the city’s bylaw involving yard maintenance and garbage. The students are sent out across Hamilton to follow up on complaints, and while they are out and about, they check up on neighbouring properties.

As of early August, said Mr. Bailey, the program has already earned its value.

The department has had a 90 per cent compliance rate, and cleared about 900 complaints as of June 1, said Mr. Bailey.

“This is about educating residents, providing them with bylaw 101,” said Mr. Bailey, who researched what other municipalities have implemented and adapted the programs to Hamilton.

“The strongest component, though, is educating residents,” he said.

When told about a bylaw infraction, the majority of homeowners readily complies, usually because they just didn’t know about it, said Mr. Bailey.

For the other 10 per cent of complaints, some people get upset, he said. Most of the time the complaints will be about properties that are owned by absentee landlords, he said.

The students don’t lay charges, but review and take down information about a property, said Mr. Bailey.

The city follows up with another visit and owners are warned again and issued a second order. The owner is charged for the second visit at $233 a pop. If the yard or waste problem remains, the city cuts the grass or picks up the trash, either using its own employees or hires a contractor. The cost is charged on the property owner’s tax bill, said Mr. Bailey. As of the end of July, the city had laid 13 charges under the bylaw.

To lodge a complaint about long grass and weeds, residents can call 905-546-2489, or email mle@hamilton.ca .