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fingers

- Anne Finlay-Stewart, Editor

At the most recent Owen Sound Operations Committee, the discussion of untamed garbage had fingers pointing in every direction, including at the City itself.
Councillor Brian O'Leary insisted "We're enablers. We let it happen. We need to put the hammer down."
A written complaint by the Downtown Improvement Area (DIA) of discarded furniture on downtown sidewalks and overflowing wasteparkgarbage receptacles had been referred to the committee for recommendations. The City's Public Works department is responsible for clearing the garbage, and reported that recently a couch with used needles in it was removed.
There are two city by-laws that allow for fines for improper disposal of garbage, and the past practice has been one warning before a fine is imposed - if the offender can be identified. Although the DIA suspects tenants in apartments over businesses are responsible, committee members reported being told of vehicles stopping on 2nd Avenue, opening the trunk and removing large garbage bags which they left on the curb. The provincial Residential Tenancy Act requires landlords to provide for proper garbage disposal options for their tenants, and all landlords may not be complying.
Suggestions from committee members around the table included removing public garbage cans, asking property owners on 2nd Ave to put garbage behind their buildings rather than on the sidewalk, and installing security cameras.
The single recommendation passed at the committee was to request a staff report on the costs and legal issues that would be associated with a proposed pilot project of security cameras in the 800 and 900, block of 2nd Avenue East. Councillor O'Leary stated that he believes the cameras will cut the problem in half.
The garbage issue is not simply a downtown issue. City workers have removed mattresses and box springs from vacant properties. A full garbage can at Owen Heights Park on the east hill this weekend contained empty paper flour bags and corn husks - apparently someone's kitchen waste.


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