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Canada Elderly couple warned of ‘notice of violation’ for not mowing traffic island

02:01  11 june  2018
02:01  11 june  2018 Source:   thestar.com

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An elderly couple had better get busy and start mowing a traffic calming island in front of their house, or face legal action for a bylaw violation . They got a “courtesy notice ” on April 30, saying that “effective immediately, the City of Toronto will no longer maintain the municipal boulevard adjoining

An elderly couple had better get busy and start mowing a traffic calming island in front of their house, or face legal action for a bylaw violation . That’s the warning issued to 91-year-old Remo Michelini and his wife Lina, 88, in a June 5 letter from the City of Toronto, which refers to the traffic island as “your


Lina Michelini, 88, strolls past a traffic island overgrown with weeds in front of her Lauder Ave. home. After sporadically mowing it for many years, the city now insists she and her 91-year-old husband must keep it cut.© Jack Lakey Lina Michelini, 88, strolls past a traffic island overgrown with weeds in front of her Lauder Ave. home. After sporadically mowing it for many years, the city now insists she and her 91-year-old husband must keep it cut.

An elderly couple had better get busy and start mowing a traffic calming island in front of their house, or face legal action for a bylaw violation.

That’s the warning issued to 91-year-old Remo Michelini and his wife Lina, 88, in a June 5 letter from the City of Toronto, which refers to the traffic island as “your property” and says they have seven days to comply.

Since it was installed in front of their home, at Lauder and Genesee Aves., about 10 years ago, the city has sporadically trimmed it, usually three or four times a year, said their son, J.P. Michelini.

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He’s been asking the city for years to cut it regularly or pave it, like others in the area, sometimes with a push from their city councillor’s office. It’s been a source of frustration, which is apparent in copies of emails he provided us.

But something changed this spring. They got a “courtesy notice” on April 30, saying that “effective immediately, the City of Toronto will no longer maintain the municipal boulevard adjoining your property.”

A note to 311 from Dave Collins of transportation services outlines reasons for the new hard line, saying that a city bylaw states, “the property owner or occupier of lands abutting the street SHALL maintain the boulevard.

“For greater clarification, the boulevard is the part of the street from the property line to the curb, inclusive. In short, like the thousands of other property owners in the city, the adjacent property owner is responsible for maintaining the boulevard, regardless of their age or past practice.”

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Read more: Elderly couple warned of ‘ notice of violation ’ for not mowing traffic island . They determined that the traffic island amounted to a boulevard, as defined by a city bylaw, and said in an April 30 “courtesy notice ” that homeowners are required to maintain the boulevard in front of their

Then came the June 5 letter, with seven days notice to cut it. Their son noted in a reply to the city that if the island is theirs, “it’s news to us,” adding if that’s the case, they should be able to plant a tree on it or even pave it.

We went there and met up with Lina Michelini, who said her husband cuts the grass and does the yard work around their immaculately-kept bungalow, but “he’s not cutting their grass. It’s their job, not ours.”

While the city’s definition of what constitutes a boulevard may technically be correct, it is at odds with common sense, and a few other things.

Typically, a boulevard is a strip of grass, usually less than three metres wide, that runs between a sidewalk and the curb. It’s a stretch to call the island a boulevard.

Boulevards are common in suburban areas, but non-existent on any of the streets in the Dufferin Ave.- Rogers Rd. area that includes the Michelini’s home. They’d be the only people among many hundreds of homeowners in the area with a boulevard.

They’ve also repeatedly asked the city to pave it over, noting that several other traffic calming islands on nearby streets, including two on Northcliffe Ave., one street to the west, are covered with paving stones.

The city’s reply? No can do. So get off your lazy ol’ butts and cut it.

STATUS: We’re going to take a crack at reasoning with a couple of very reasonable city officials who might consider dropping the hardline approach. Stay tuned.

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