A city councillor believes it’s time to increase the fines for individuals who leave their properties looking like a veritable rat’s nest.
Maurice Dupelle is requesting city administrators prepare a report detailing how the municipality deals with land owners in Cornwall who refuse to cut their grass in a timely fashion, leave their properties in a dishevelled state and generally avoid upkeep.
Dupelle said he receives as many as four calls a week from city residents who are complaining about neighbours who do their utmost to avoid property maintenance.
And the rookie councillor believes he knows why those individuals in the city are comfortable with their slovenly confines.
“If you’re going to give someone a $105 fine for not cutting the grass…does it really deter them?” Dupelle said during an interview.
He points to a city decision several years ago to combat the problem of motorists parking in spots for special needs individuals. The city hiked the fine to $300 and the problem was solved.
Dupelle added it might be time to consider increasing enforcement of current city bylaws too.
“We’re probably going to see we’re understaffed in that (area),” he said, suggesting revenue from fine increases could help offset the additional costs of increasing bylaw enforcement.
Dupelle was quick to point out that most property owners and landlords in the city are respectful of their neighbours and keep their properties in order – but a few are ruining things for the majority.
He recently visited a property that was for sale in the city that had a front yard that resembled something out of the jungle.
“The grass was a high as you and I,” he said. “People are telling me, ‘Why should my property be devalued?’”
The report Dupelle requested is expected to be back for council’s perusal in a few weeks.