Letters to the Editor for August 25, 2015

Who is accountable for damage done by unruly mob?

After midnight on July 24 a mob of mostly young and several drunk people gathered at the foot of Balsam Avenue. This was apparently the second night in a row a large group gathered there after being moved off Queen Street as the jazz festival ended for the night.

They destroyed city signs and a fence barrier, then jumped all over a Beck taxicab trying to turn around to avoid the group. One of the younger, drunker men then jumped on the trunk of the taxi which accelerated away, depositing him several yards up the street.

This got the whole mob excited and they began running north towards Queen Street, throwing bags of garbage and running up and over parked cars – one of which was mine. The young (presumably drunk) man who scrambled over the first car landed on the hood of mine, denting it completely. This is a dent that cannot be easily removed and will necessitate an insurance claim with a deductible of $500, or an out-of-insurance repair cost.

This incident was reported to 911 who initially sent a fire truck and, belatedly, two police cruisers, the second of which told me how and where to file a report.

Those of us who live in between the jazz festival and the beach suffer the inconvenience of this event year after year. I am now a property damage victim of this group of festival attendees who were eventually chased by the police north of Queen Street. The few of us who were outside and witnessed all of this unruly destructive behaviour were outnumbered by the mob and I was sworn at by some of the more offensive ones as they ran by.

I am very unhappy, as are my neighbours. If organizers of the festival expect residents of the Beach to continue to support this event, there should be a contingency fund to pay for damage in incidents like this.

There is no reason at all why any resident should be inconvenienced or out of pocket while organizers profit from this event.

Patrick Flynn

Balsam Avenue


Treatment plant needs leash enforcement

Your article on the parks and the photo of dogs at the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant proves the point that this on-leash area has become in reality an off-leash area for dogs. There is no enforcement anywhere on the R.C. Harris ground: the beach in the summer, and the upper lawn and the lower lawn where dog owners take their dogs for off leash exercise every day year-round.

There is already an extensive area of the beach between Silver Birch and Nursewood set aside for off-leash dogs. I can only conclude that the staff at the plant turn a blind eye because it is too much trouble to insist on enforcement in this grey area, not a public park and not private property either, or that they love dogs and are happy to see the owners turn the whole property into an unofficial off-leash zone.

This is the reality: dog owners now regard free use of the whole grounds by their dogs as their right and are aggressive to anyone who questions them. Only rigid enforcement of the leash bylaw will change this situation, which is extremely annoying to people who would like to walk on the lawns and use the beach without dogs running around freely. Is it too much to ask that this bylaw be enforced?

Name withheld

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I personally am glad the bylaw is only rarely enforced.

I am a dog-owner who lives in the Beaches. My dog is reasonably well-behaved. When walking my dog, I let her run free everywhere in the parks and beaches of this lovely neighbourhood except on private property and where my dog or people may become harmed. For example, I keep her leashed near bicycle paths, volleyball courts, other crowds of people or dogs, streets, etc. Out of courtesy, I leash her also near picnickers and small children.

Thus, I violate the leash bylaw routinely. Why do I, a normally law-abiding citizen, do this? Because my family and I love our dog and enjoy being with our dog, and because we are concerned for our dog’s quality of life.

Earlier this summer my wife and I were walking our dog on a Saturday morning in Woodbine Park. Our dog was not leashed. At one point, we were not paying close attention and we were caught by a park ranger enforcing zero tolerance and fined $250. We went to court and contested the amount of the fine. The Justice of the Peace reduced it to $5. It’s nice to see common sense (no harm, little foul) instead of rigid enforcement.

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