Concerned that meeting neighbourhood’s request would open the flood gates, Woolwich says maintenance falls to homeowners
Worried about setting a precedent, Woolwich will do nothing about a weed-covered stretch of township property on Samuel and Ann streets in Elmira.
The boulevards and parts of homeowners’ lawns were re-sodded following reconstruction of the road in 2010. Since then, large areas of the grass have died, to be overrun by weeds. Art Bolduc, whose mother-in-law lives on Samuel Street, has been the most vocal of the neighbours unhappy with the situation, calling on the township to restore the grass to the way it was before the construction work.
Having paid little heed to those calls, council this week opted to do nothing, fearing that dealing with the dead grass would open the door to other residents demanding similar action after the fact.
“It’s more complicated than seeding one boulevard,” said Coun. Mark Bauman in voting against taking action, citing concerns about the precedent.
Coun. Allan Poffenroth, who brought forward a motion to repair the grass, was the sole member of council to vote in favour of it at Tuesday night’s meeting.
“It’s our land. It’s unsightly,” he said, noting the sod didn’t take the first time around. “I think it would be a gesture to keep our land looking nice.”
Though the die-off didn’t begin until after the contractor’s warranty period for the sod work, he argued that deficiencies can occur later on. And, while the township expects homeowners to water and tend to new grass on adjacent township property, some people aren’t able to care for the boulevards, leaving the township ultimately responsible for its own land.
For director of engineering and planning Dan Kennaley, the cost of fixing the problem in this instance is trivial compared to the precedent. He noted the sod work passed muster in the final inspection, so there’s no going back to the contractor. Similar complaints elsewhere have been dealt with inside the warranty period, whereas three years have passed since the reconstruction of Herbert/Samuel/Ann streets.
Dealing with that spot now would open the door to many similar requests, he said, adding the issue boils down to asking all the taxpayers to cover the cost of a neighbourhood problem.
Coun. Julie-Anne Herteis said fixing the boulevards now raises the spectre of compensation for those homeowners that have already fixed the grass at their own expense.
“Do we pay them back?”
Disappointed by the decision, Bolduc said Wednesday he would continue to press the township to “do the right thing.
“I haven’t given up. I know that I’m not the only one that has had trouble trying to deal with something that is bad that … the township should be looking after.”
Bolduc said he’s received supportive comments from residents who’ve followed the story, reinforcing his position.
Still, he’s convinced this is a problem the township should have nipped in the bud.
“So much could have been avoided if it was done properly in the first place,” he said of the post-construction sodding.