Friday, September 10, 2010

City By-Laws Office reviewing how to handle illegal garbage dump complaint

As you may remember I sent a complaint in to a few weeks ago. I reported an individual dumping his construction material in the dumpster in my back lane behind my house. I took a photo of the individual, his truck, and his license plate and sent it in with my complaint. The 311 call center people forwarded the complaint to the City By-Law office and provided a ticket number to me so I could track the ticket. I mentioned in the complaint that I would like to be informed on the progress with the ticket.
A few days later (Aug 26) I received a call from the City By-Laws office telling me that they could not proceed with my complaint. It turns out that they can not investigate license numbers. They have no access to the MPI database to find out who the registered owner of the vehicle is, so the person responsible for dumping the garbage can be dealt with. I was told that I should try to ask for identification of the individual who is doing the dumping so the By-Laws office could deal with the complaints.
I did mention that I did not feel safe in asking for identification, especially because I was in a back lane with an individual who was comitting an illegal act. The person at the By-Law office also told me not to put myself in harms way, but was stressing the fact that they did not have the ability to go further in the investigation because of privacy laws that were in place. Their office does not have access to the information needed to perform their jobs. I was told I could contact the supervisor of the By-Laws office regarding this matter, and was provided his name and phone number.
I called the supervisor, Kevin Seaford, and asked why my issue was not being taken care of. Again I was told that because of the privacy act, their office did not have access to the MPI database that would allow them to continue their investigation on this illegal dumping of garbage. The Mr. Seaford was aware that the illegal dumping of garbage in the North End is a huge problem. He has tried to go up the ladder in City Hall to get this issue of no access to information addresses. He has not been successful in gaining access to information needed to proceed with these sorts of investigations.
Mayor Sam Katz called me the day after I talked with Kevin Seaford. I sent him a link to my blog regarding the City By-Law office not being able to take care of my issue. He wanted to tell me he was working on a plan to make my neighbourhood safe. While he was on the phone I asked him what he was going to do about the City By-Law Office inability to get needed information, and told him about my issue. He said he would take care of my issue personally.
Well, I called 311 last Friday to check on my ticket number. That was a week after the Mayor promised to take care of my issue. I was told the 311 people have no information regarding it, and I would need to contact the City By-Law office personally, as that is the department they forwarded the issue to. I call the City By-Law office on Monday to check if anything was being done regarding the issue and my ticket specifically. I was told there was some discussion taking place regarding the procedures but the person had no information at that time. I talked with the person this morning and was told that the issue is currently in process. I was told the office is "reviewing how to handle" the issue of not being able to get needed information.
I guess that is a start. I know these things take time. I only hope some good will come of this.
I will be contacting the mayors office to see what they are doing, and keep you posted.

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