Saturday, April 9, 2011

Report A By-Law Infraction A Day

When I was on the Winnipeg Internet Pundits show on Wednesday, I said there was a very simple solution to fixing the North End. I recommended that the City hire one person to report garbage issues, and hire another to report By-Law infractions in the North End. I figure that would cost the City about $50,000.00 and most of the issues would be resolved. I know I have over simplified the issues, but think about it. If I reported a house that had its eaves falling off, was unpainted, had the fence falling apart, screens on the house ripped, and windows broken, and the By-Law officers did their jobs, what do you think might happen? If everyone did their jobs, the landlord would have to take care of the issues. And if it kept happening, if windows kept breaking, and screens kept ripping, the tenants would have to stop destroying the property, or they would have to leave. If the tenants stopped destroying the property, and started taking care of it instead, they may start caring a bit more. If the tenants started caring a bit more, that may carry over into their kids being taught to care about their surroundings. If the kids started to care more about their surroundings, they might not stab someone for a cigarette. They might actually grow up to be assets to their communities, and their City. They might be productive members of society.
So, with that in mind, I am going to try and report a By-Law infraction a day. And I think you should do the same.
Today, my By-Law infraction is a house that had a fire November 5, 2010. I reported it to 311 on November 7 last year. The burned out couch was removed from the yard, but the house remains untouched. I think the landlord needs to fix the damage, so that's my By-Law infraction for today.


  1. Absolutely correct , and to think I once believed that inspectors inspected .OH NO not until some other person reports a by-law or garbage problem, nothing is done. Since most inner city residents are scared of officials who are sometimes rude and dismissive, they are not likely to call in, they are scared someone will find out they called and come and make trouble for them. I emailed in two by laws, one toilet on the boulevard, and several dope dealers today, every little helps!

  2. Curious; how do a ripped screen and paint issues equates to bylaw infraction?

  3. According to the Neighbourhood Liveability By-Law Section 10 Exterior walls of building, section 2 (c) "ensure that the paint on a painted surface is maintained and renewed so that no more than 25% percent of the area of any painted surface is blistered, cracked, flaked, scaled, or chalked away".
    Regarding screens, in section 37 Screens and storm windows and doors (1) close-fitting screened sashes must be installed on all openable windows in a dwelling from May 1 to November 1 in each year and must be maintained in good condition.
    There are many other requirements for basic maintenance of residences as well.

  4. Thanks for the info Rae. I had no clue there were bylaws about the screens in my windows and the paint on my walls. Seems asinine to write bylaws to tell me how my screens should be. But I guess some people need laws to know how to live normally. Just my thoughts though.

  5. While I applaud your efforts to make the world a better place, it's rarely the tenants destroying their own property. So, vandals burn down a garage - the owners need time for insurance to go through - cash to fix it up. Then you 'report the infraction'. Give yourself a pat on the back. Unfortunately, fines do not necessarily equal the ability for the owner to act.
    Instead, I think it's more valuable to give kids and youths something to do rather than trash the neighbourhood. Reporting infractions doesn't actually solve the deeper social issue.