City council has defered a vote to create a new committee to monitor property standards in the city - and it has infuriated at least one Cornwall couple to the point they plan to leave.
Liane Geoffrion and Ron Cloutier, who moved to Cornwall last year from Ottawa, are fed up with inaction from city hall on enforcing property standards bylaws and both agreed Tuesday's vote to postpone the creation of a committee to monitor property standards is the last straw.
"I'm done," said a fuming Geoffrion outside the city council chambers Tuesday. "We're so frustrated we don't know what else to do but move."
And they weren't the only people angry.
Coun. Maurice Dupelle, normally one of the more reserved members of council, was as angry as one could be following a 9-3 vote to shelve the idea of creating the committee for the time being.
"I feel like we get bogged down in report after report," he thundered. "It baffles me we're going to prolong this even more."
Dupelle was joined by councillors Bernadette Clement and Gerry Samson in opposing a deferral on the committee's creation.
The balance of council believes more concrete terms of reference need to be outlined, which would govern the work of the proposed committee, before soliciting the community for people who might be interested in joining it.
Coun. Elaine MacDonald said the committee originally had a mandate that could have included allowing residents the ability to collect evidence on offending property owners.
She was worried this type of "vigilantism" would complicate the process of enforcing city bylaws.
But that didn't wash with Geoffrion and Cloutier.
Geoffrion said the couple is living amid neighbours who continually break the rules when it comes to unsightly garbage, homes overstocked with pets and absentee landlords.
"What nobody realizes is there is no bylaw enforcement in this city," she said. "We were hoping an advisory committee...would be able to look at the process of bylaw enforcement."
A report to city council by chief building official Chris Rogers in August painted a bleak picture of the Cornwall's bylaw department. The department operates on a shoe-string and has just 1.5 positions trying to enforce a multitude of bylaws designed to police vacant buildings, structural safety and yard cleanliness.
The city receives some 1,700 bylaw complaints a year, and Roger said his department has a difficult job just trying to catch up.