By ALAN SHACKLETON
For months, some residents in the Lake Shore Boulevard East area have been trying to get the City of Toronto to cut the grass on a small strip of land by the road.
The parcel of land in question fronts residences between 1794 to 1806 Lake Shore Blvd. E., which is on the north side east of Winners Circle and west of the traffic lights at the foot of Joseph Duggan Road. The land is between the sidewalk and the road’s curb and there are 11 crab apple trees on it.
In years past, the area residents (who did not want their names published) said the city had maintained and cut the grass there on a regular basis. However, that didn’t happen this spring and the residents then started making inquiries as to why not. And that led to months of back-and-forth between city officials, Toronto’s 311 service and the residents.
Information sent to Beach Metro Community News showed a long string of emails involving representatives of Beaches-East York Councillor Brad Bradford’s office. In one of those emails, the residents were told by the councillor’s office that city staff had confirmed to them that the grass would be cut in late August.
“I have received confirmation from City staff that the grass will be cut at this location by August 25.,” said the email from a staff member of Councillor Bradford’s office to the resident who had expressed concern.
The grass was not cut by that time, which prompted the resident to express frustration in a follow-up email to the councillor’s office.
“It is now August the 25th. What a surprise! No one, as per your assurances, has been to cut the disgraceful and ugly eyesore that sits in front of the 10 houses along Lake Shore Blvd. East,” wrote the resident. “Can someone please have the decency to make something happen. PLEASE!! This is YOUR responsibility. Our hands are tied. We’ve called 311 countless times to no avail.”
On behalf of the frustrated residents, Beach Metro Community News reached out to the City of Toronto’s media relations department to see if it could solve this mystery and explain why the grass was not being cut in the area.
And according to the response received by the paper on Sept. 15, the reason was because the land is not one that the City of Toronto is responsible for maintaining.
“At this time, we can confirm that the property owners of 1794 to 1806 Lakeshore Boulevard East are responsible for maintaining the grass portion of the boulevard in front of their properties under the bylaw, Chapter 743-36,” said Russell Baker, Manager, Media Relations and Issues Management with the City of Toronto.
“In past years, the City cut the grass on the boulevard, but this was discontinued after a review when it was found that this area is the responsibility of the property owners. The City is committed to taking steps to help inform the property owners about the bylaw requirements and will provide 311 staff with updated information about this location.”
That was a surprise to the residents who had been communicating with 311 and had never been told they were supposed to responsible for the maintenance of that strip of land.
“When and why did ‘bylaw, Chapter 743-36’ come into effect and under whose review?” asked the resident in a response sent to Beach Metro Community News.
“Did any of these decision makers take into consideration homeowners with physical disabilities who are unable to tend to this land in question? What accommodations will be made for these individuals with disabilities to assist them? How and when were residents advised of this change?”
The resident also expressed extreme frustration with the entire process.
“This whole tiresome back and forth that has gone on for four months should and could have been resolved with effective communication. Clearly there is a massive communication breakdown that has made the entire experience extremely frustrating.”