اخبار العرب-كندا 24: الثلاثاء 21 نوفمبر 2023 04:39 صباحاً
Residents who live on the east side of the 2800 block of Randolph Avenue, their backyard neighbours on Skyline Avenue as well as some residents along Grand Marais West received notices from the city last week ordering them to remove sheds, pools and even fences from their backyards because they were encroaching on an alleyway.
However the surprised residents say there hasn't been an alley there for decades and everyone's backyards abut one another.
"Apparently the alley was never closed, according to the city, and a hundred per cent of the fences down this alley are now apparently in the wrong spot," said Grand Marais West resident Tim Kennedy standing in his backyard.
Kennedy says he and 17 other residents received a notice last Tuesday and Wednesday giving them until Nov. 21 to comply with the order to remove fences, sheds and other items and replace the areas with sod.
The order received from the city public works department to remove items from an unmaintained alley. (Jodi Reaume)
"Impossible," said Randolph Avenue resident Jodi Reaume. "I'd have to remove half a driveway, cement pads, trees, landscaping, tons of stones. That's not even realistic," she said.
"The letter was very threatening. It didn't say anywhere in the letter that we had the choice to buy the alleyway," said Randolph Avenue resident Judy Solecki, who has a shed and landscaping in the affected area at the back of her property.
Ward 10 Coun. Jim Morrison said the residents have the option of buying their strip of the alley for a dollar plus survey costs.
"And in most cases it will be OK. You now own another seven feet (2.1 metres) of property and sometimes this goes back 40 years," said Morrison.
Solecki said once she started inquiring about the order she and her husband were given an extension of a month.
"We're going to apply to close the alley and maybe some of us eventually buy our portion of the alley," said Kennedy, who is collaborating with other residents.
Solecki said she and her husband will be applying to buy their portion of the alley rather than remove the items.
Andrew Lewis, the right of way and field services coordinator at the public works department, said the alley was never closed and the city received a 311 call complaining about the encroachments.
Andrew Lewis is the right-of-way and field services coordinator for the City of Windsor Public Works department. (Dale Molnar/CBC)
"The alley in question is an open but unmaintained alley so it is not closed," said Lewis."When we receive complaints through our 311 call centre, we have to do our due diligence and investigate and take appropriate action when required."
Lewis said the public works department couldn't advise people they could buy their part of the alley because that work is done by the planning department and the public works department can't promise the residents can have their part of the alley.
"We don't want to lead to false hope if things cannot be legalized in the right of way due to various reasons," said Lewis.
Lewis said city council has to first approve of closing the alley before residents can purchase their share. He couldn't say if the residents' extension to comply with the removal orders was specifically for a month.
"They've been given an extension to the orders to comply. They've got until the process is completed," said Lewis, who couldn't say if any part of the alley was actually not being encroached upon.
He couldn't say how the alley came to be encroached upon over the years.
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