Saturday, October 9, 2010

Garbage Truck Picks Up Bulky Items

I reported several different bulky items located throughout the neighbourhood this last week. Most of the items I reported were in the form of a single email sent to 311. I gave a basic description of the items in each lane between the areas of Main and Redword to McGregor and Mountain. It seems every lane had its share of bulky items sitting in and around dumpsters. The 311 agent said it would take extra time to take care of that complaint because it was too general. It would have to be sent to a supervisor to assess the amount of garbage to be picked up so they can schedule the correct workforce to take care of the issues.
That seems fair enough, except, when I was talking to a supervisor in a City of Winnipeg truck, who was driving down the back lanes in my area, I got a different picture. He told me he checks all bulky item reports. He said he checks all of my reports as well, where I give a specific address, a list of items, and include a photograph of the items to be picked up. There seems to be a bit of a discrepency in what 311 is telling me, and what I am seeing in action on the street, or should I say in the back lane.
I did see one of the dumpsters that I reported earlier in the week get its bulky items picked up though. I made my report on Sunday last week, and heard the garbage truck in the back lane. I was interested in what would happen with the particular pickup, because I knew more items had been deposited since I made the ticket. I wanted to see if they would pick up only the items I requested or if they would pick up all the items that were at the dumpster.
By the time my husband and I arrived in the back lane across the street there was an audience watching the waste management workers. There was a scrapper, waiting to get at the dumpster, and there was an elderly gentleman, who was another home owner. The elderly gentleman had also placed a complaint with 311 over the phone regarding the dumpster and demanded that they pick up the entire amount of garbage instead of the six item limit that seems to be written into their contract.
So, there we were, all four of us, watching as the one worker stood by the truck (likely operating the mechanism that crushes the bulky items), and the other loaded the bulky items in.
The workers did pick up every large item that was beside the dumpsters, and even picked up the garbage on the ground, throwing it into the dumpster. I think they did it because of the audience watching them.
But as much as they ensured the work was completed to our satisfaction at the one dumpster, they drove right past a couch that was in the back lane. I witnessed the couch get dragged out of one of the houses just a few hours earlier and deposited in the back lane for the garbage truck to pick up.
Of course I understand why the couch was left in the back lane. It was sitting there waiting for someone to call the city and report it as being in the back lane. It was waiting for the 311 agent to create a ticket and have a city worker come out and verify that it truely is a couch, sitting in the back lane, waiting to get picked up. It is waiting for the city worker to confirm the pickup and send the request to the waste management company that is contracted to take care of our garbage so they can send another truck, just like the one in the picture, to come down the same back lane. What a waste of City dollars. The truck was right there. It drove right by that couch. The couch will be in the back lane for at least another week, hoping and praying that nobody sets it on fire, so it can be moved to its final resting place in the Brady Landfil. In the meantime, don't get too close to it. It may have bed bugs. And for heaven sakes don't take it home with you.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Getting Contact Information For Landlords On My Street

After getting a response from the office of the Honorable Gord Macintosh letting me know that I do have rights as a neighbour of a problem house, I thought I would get contact information for the landlords of problem houses on my street.
And especially after reading an article in the Free Press today by Gabriella Giroday entitled "Authorities find new ways to close problem properties", I got all motivated and fired off an email.
I sent an email to the Residential Tenancies Branch at I gave a brief description of the issues that have been occuring at specific locations and asked if I could get the contact information on the landords. I sent the email at 12:19pm today and had an answer by 12:36pm.
The Residential Tenancies Branch provided me the name and phone number of the landlord for one of the houses, after checking with the landlord of course. I was very pleased with the information and proceeded to call the landlord and inform them of the incident that took place with their tenant. They were thankful for my information and said they would send a letter out to the tenants right away regarding the complaint. I could not be more pleased with the outcome of that. And I entered that information in a log I started on their property.
The second residence which I complained about did not go in the same direction. I was told by the Residential Tenancies Branch that they do not have a listing for that address and I would have to contact the Land Titles people to get the information. Doesn't a search cost money? Well, I am not ready to spend money on a search just yet. So I sent an email to 311 to ask them about the property, again explaining that there have been problems at the residence and I would like the contact information for the landlord so I can contact them. I sent that email at 1:41pm today and received my response at 1:50pm. Again, I was given a very quick response. And again I was told to go to the Land Title office.

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your email. You may find out this information by requesting the title of the home through Manitoba Land Titles. There is a $10 charge and this document will show the registered owner of the home. Manitoba Land Titles is located at 276 Portage Avenue.

Thank you for contacting Winnipeg 311.

311 wasn't much help. I will have to stop the property manager the next time I see him and ask for contact information. We need a better system, though, to get information on these landlords that are allowing their tenants to cause such problems for the neighbourhood. And why would the Residential Tenancies Branch not have information on landlords? Or how do they get information on landlords? Or should they have information on landlords?
As I was typing this blog entry the property manager for said residence showed up to do some work on the house. I sent my husband out to ask for his contact information and got it. Great, thats one more house on my street where I can call the landlord directly and let them know what is going on. I will still be calling the police to log the complaint and get an incident number. But now I can also call the landlord and ensure they are aware of the issues at their rental property.

Party Duplex Must Be On Double Secret Probation

The main floor of the Party Duplex got cleaned out again last weekend. But the occupants of the upstairs are still residing there. The Party Duplex has been pretty quiet the last few weeks, which is good. But yesterday, around 6pm we witnessed some beer bottles being thrown out of the upstairs window at the back of the house. They were being hurled into the back lane and breaking on contact. My husband was taking the garbage out at the time and just about got hit by one of the beer bottles as it flew through the air.
Then a short while later, we were in the back lane talking to one of the other neighbours. We could see from where we were that it was the four year old that was tossing the beer bottles. Was he making a statement on what he thought about the beer in the house? Or was he just trying to entertain himself in some fashion? I don't have an answer on that.
What happened next, though, was amazing. The mother, who saw the audience of neighbours, started yelling at the boy to stop throwing the beer bottles. And the same mother began cleaning up the mess her son made. She picked up all of the broken beer bottles and put them in the dumpster.
This is the same mother that we encountered a month ago when her son was throwing rotten apples down the lane. This is the same mother that told us her son could do anything he wanted because "it's just the North End".
I think someone has been put on probation, maybe double secret probation. I see a change in attitude from this young mother. Lets hope she keeps it up.
The home team scores another point !!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Update on Residential Tenancy Act For Manitoba And Us - Posted Sept15/10

I have an update on the post I made on Sept 15/10 entitled "Residential Tenancy Act For Manitoba And Us".

I received a response to that post from one of the candidates running in the Mynarski Ward (David Polsky):

Hi xxx The Residential Tenacies Act is under the durisdiction of the Province of Manitoba. You would have to contact your MLA George Hickes at 945-3706 or by email -
Or you can contact the Honorable Kerrie Irvin-Ross. She is the Provincial Minister responsible for Residential Tenacies Act. Her phone number is 945-6190 and email -
Thank you.
I took his advise. I sent an email to George Hickes and the Honorable Kerrie Irvin-Ross.

George Hickes

I have a neighbour on my block who has disrupted the neighbourhood the entire summer. They have had loud drinking parties that last until 6:00am every night that it has been nice this summer. Finally on Aug 20 at 9:30am the police arrived at the house. The children and dog were removed. CFS arrived on the street. The kids and dog were taken away. The next day the adults were taken away. A week later the property manager had the residence cleaned up (after throwing up when he entered the unit). Then a week later the same people moved back in. The same people were given new furniture and clothing by CFS. And the same people partied all night long this last weekend on Friday night and Saturday night. They were yelling, swearing and screaming at each other in their back yard. One was smashing the other persons car in their back yard. How long must a neighbourhood put up with this kind of behaviour.
They do not appear to be involved in crime, so the Safe Communities and Neighbourhoods Act does not apply as of yet. These issues fall under the categories of The Residential Tenancy Act and The Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law.
There needs to be a change in the Residential Tenancies Act in section 67 - Landlord to investigate complaints. The section states the landlord needs to "make a reasonable effort to remedy the situation". This is a very subjective statement. There needs to be a footnote and rules on what is a reasonable effort. There needs to be accountability that the reasonable effort was done. Each recurrence of an issue must escalate. There must be a limit to the number of complaints on each type of issue.
When sections of the Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law are violated, the landlord must be held accountable and must be given specific criteria to act on and specific outcomes if issues are not resolved.

I have been writing a blog about my street I began on Aug 22, after a particularly bad week on the block. I have specific issues relating to this one "party duplex" in my blog. It is located at XXXXXX. It is known to the Police, to the city By-Law office, to CFS, and who knows how many other places.

The police have enough work to do. They should not be forced to come to these problem houses over and over again because the current Acts do nothing to protect citizens. The By-Law officers do not seem to be able to enforce violations, they are aware of issues and file reports on issues, and request that issues be resolved. But they do not seem to be able to put the pressure needed on landlords to correct the issues.

The City of Winnipeg, and in particular the North End has many houses like this one that need to be taken care of. I do not want your office to tell me it is a city issue and the city to tell me it is a provincial issue. Someone has to take responsibility. Someone has to review these Acts and ensure they are working to take care of all citizens of Winnipeg and Manitoba.

My email was forwarded by the office of the Honorable Kerri Irvin-Ross to Gord Mackintosh's office.

On behalf of the Honourable Kerri Irvin-Ross, Minister of Housing and Community Development, I would like to acknowledge receipt of your e-mail.
As the matter you address falls under the jurisdiction of Honourable Gord Mackintosh, Minister responsible for the Residential Tenancies Act, I have taken the liberty of forwarding your e-mail to their office for review.
Thank you for taking the time to write to us. I will ensure this is brought to the Minister's attention.
Yours sincerely,
Nancy Renwick Special Assistant to the
Minister of Housing and Community Development
Room 358-Legislative Building
(204) 945-6190
I finally got a response from Gord Mackintosh's office.

So, I do have some power in resolving these issues. If the landlord does not resolve these issues in a manor I feel is reasonable, I can contact the Residential Tenancies Branch. I will keep that in mind if the Party House starts up again.

I am also glad to see that I can file a complaint if I feel these issues are not being taken care of.

Knowledge is a good thing.

New Party House? I Hope Not !!

Do we have a new party house in our back lane? I sure hope not. But last night at 1:30am, just before Oprah was over, there was noise coming from the lane. My husband opened the window and stuck his head out to see where the noise was coming from. It was not coming from the ususal Party House. I think we had that issue taken care of. This time it was coming from a house behind the Party House, on the other side of the back lane.
About ten minutes later, I stuck my head out to see. I could hear the party across the lane. And I could see them in their second floor suite through their window.
Well, I called the Police to let them know there was unacceptable noise coming from a drinking party across the lane.
This is all I can do about it. I do not know the landlord, so I cannot call them and let them know what their tenants are doing. I called the police. If the police had time last night to drop by and ask the occupants of that residents to please keep it down so their neighbours can sleep, then great. Otherwise, I hope they are notifying the landlord that there was a complaint.
I will continue to call the police each time someone in my neighbourhood decides they should party after midnight and wake me up. This is not acceptable, and I am not going to stand for it.

To the Party Houses out there - Get with the program, join society, respect your neighbours, and keep the noise down after midnight. I don't think that is too much to ask.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Police Presence Once Again

I was getting ready to go out just after 3:00pm today when I noticed a police car down the street. Well, thats not exactly true. I was getting ready to go out when I heard some noise out my window. I looked out the window and down the street a bit and saw a police officer standing on the boulevard with someone pinned on the ground. The gentleman was hand cuffed and leaned against the police car. Soon after, a second car arrived and the gentleman was placed in the back of the car.
When I left, I drove down the street, past the police cars and to the corner. I then saw another officer coming from the back lane.
Later, when I got home, I was told there were a total of four police cars that showed up for the incident.
I noticed the person who was handcuffed earlier on in the day. It must have been within half an hour of him being handcuffed. He was walking down the road pushing a stroller with a young child. I remembered him, because he looked very un-natural pushing the stroller. The whole way he was pushing the stroller looked odd.
I sure would like to know why the police are on my street all the time. I would like to know if these issues are domestic, or gang related. I would like to know if it is more of the same issue all the time, or if they are all isolated incidences.
The last time that I saw the police on my street was on Thursday. I was just coming home in the evening, and they were at the end of the street with their lights on. It looked like they were arresting someone.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I Went For A Bicycle Ride Down The Back Lanes

I went for a bicycle ride down a few of the back lanes in my area. I went in the lanes between Main and Redwood to Mountain and McGregor.
There sure are a lot of bulky items in the lanes. I wrote down some basic information regarding each single block of back lanes, and I sent the information in to 311. I have requested that the items be picked up.
In the past I took pains to get the correct address of each dumpster, take a picture of the bulky items, and send the information, all neatly arranged, to 311. But since starting this, I have become aware that the bulky item information that I send to 311 is not forwarded to the people who actually pick the items up. It is not directly sent to the company that picks up the garbage.
The information I send to 311 is forwarded to a City Worker, who gets into his truck and drives down the lanes that I mention in my email. The City Worker verifies that the information I sent is correct. Only after the City Worker has verified my information is the request put through to the company that will pick up the garbage.
So I got to thinking. Why am I spending my time walking down back lanes, stopping and taking a picture of the bulky items, going to the front of the street and counting the number of houses down to get the address and sending the well compiled information to 311 if they are just going to send a paid City Worker out to redo my work.
After my bicycle ride, I sent an email to 311. I gave basic information on the items that were in each back lane. I gave enough information for the City Worker to locate the lanes of interest, and drive down to verify for himself that there truely is bulky garbage that needs to be picked up. This should be enough information to have the City Worker investigate the back lanes and take care of the issues.

There are many large bulk items to be picked up in the St Johns area in the back lanes of Redwood/Boyd, Boyd/College, and College/Mountain between Main Street and McGregor Avenue.
In the lane of Redwood/Boyd between Salter and Powers there is an armchair beside a dumpster
In the lane of Redwood/Boyd between Powers and Andrews there are a few piles of mattresses, and other items
In the lane of Redwood/Boyd between Andrews and McGregor there are mattresses and a couch
In the lane of Boyd/College between Andrews and McGregor there is furniture at a few of the dumpsters
In the lane of Boyd/College between Powers and Andrews there are mattresses in two places
In the lane of Boyd/College between Salter and Powers there is a mattress
In the lane of College/Mountain between Aikens and Salter there is a window frame and another dumpter has a couch beside it.
In the lanes of College/Mountain between Salter and McGregor there are several other bulky items beside dumpsters.
Please have these issues addressed.
I have been advised by the 311 department that the Water and Waste Department has been notified of this and have recieved a single ticket number for reference. Maybe all I really have to do is let them know that there is stuff that needs to be dealt with. I will keep an eye on this and let you know what I find.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Was It Something I Said ??

The property manager for the Party House showed up earlier today. He put a couch in his truck and then left. It was hard to say exactly what was going on, and why he was at the house removing a couch.
But later in the day I noticed there was a pile of furniture at the back of the Party House next to the lane.

And one of the dumpsters in the back lane was full of broken furniture and baby strollers.

Do you think it was something I said?
The property manager showed up again, and said he would be coming back later in the day, or tomorrow, to pick up the furniture and mattresses that were stacked at the back of the lot of the party house.
I guess the people who were causing all the problems at that house have left again. And I guess all the furniture and mattresses that were just given to them from CFS are being thrown out again.
I had a look at the items that were stacked at the back of the lot. These are items that have only been in the house for a month. They would have been the replacement furniture and mattresses after the Party House got shovelled out last month. And they were all full of mouse droppings.

I am expecting another influx of mice in my house tonight. Better put the mouse snacks out.
Oh, my husband just told me he replenished the mouse buffet, so we are open for business.