Skip to main content

Windsor bylaw officers grapple with surge in complaints over dirty yards and messy alleys

Share

Complaints over messy lawns and alleys are growing at such a rate that bylaw enforcement officers are struggling to keep up with the call volume, according to data provided by one city official.

Craig Robertson, manager of licensing and enforcement for the City of Windsor, said the city is facing around 1,500 outstanding calls, defined as ongoing investigations or ones that bylaw enforcement have not started to address, for "unmaintained lawns" and "unkempt alleys."

Just two months ago, that number was at 500.

Robertson, who said the city usually doesn't start receiving calls for these types of matters until June, attributes the spike to the warm spring weather.

"It gives an opportunity for things to grow and people are outside more often. So we've definitely seen an increase in the call volumes that we've had over the past couple of years," he said.

West-end resident Caroline Taylor estimates she has personally made more than 30 calls to the city's bylaw department over the past two months due to surrounding homes in her neighbourhood having a complete lack of lawn care.

"I'll notice the owner will get the tag, telling them they have to mow their lawn. They'll mow it and then we will not see them back again until I call again," said Taylor. "It takes months for anybody to come around and then months for the city to come and mow the grass, so oftentimes the grass is only mowed once a year."

An overgrown lawn in Windsor, seen on May 28, 2024. (Sanjay Maru/CTV News Windsor)

On May 23, bylaw officers investigated 90 calls and addressed 68 of them — a 75 per cent completion rate.

However, on that same day, 98 new service calls came through.

According to Robertson, the City of Windsor has 12 bylaw officers who work fulltime.

"There is a report coming to council regarding some proactive enforcement in our alleyways, in which the department's been looking at some initiatives and created some ideas for how we deploy our bylaw enforcement resources around the city," said Robertson.

While some residents who live near neglected properties may detest them because they are an eyesore, Taylor said her biggest concern is safety.

"There are a lot of children in this neighborhood. Having them walk by these properties is very unsafe, especially when the grass is allow to grow two feet beside a road," she said. "You never know if there's going to be a child coming and waiting by the side of the road. It's just waiting for an accident to happen."

Windsor's bylaw department dealt with approximately 16,000 service calls in 2023, according to Robertson.

Bylaw enforcement officers have the option to lay a charge when it comes to complaints, but that doesn't always solve the issue for the neighbours, he added.

"What our bylaw does allow is for the city to undertake the work necessary to correct the issue," he said. "We have a contractor that we would hire and we would apply those costs to the property owner's property taxes."

CTVNews.ca Top Stories

Why Mount Rainier is the U.S. volcano keeping scientists up at night

The snowcapped peak of Mount Rainier, which towers 4.3 kilometres (2.7 miles) above sea level in Washington state, has not produced a significant volcanic eruption in the past 1,000 years. Yet, more than Hawaii’s bubbling lava fields or Yellowstone’s sprawling supervolcano, it’s Mount Rainier that has many U.S. volcanologists worried.

Stay Connected