Snitch City

Is Bells Corners a community of whiners and complainers?

Do we call by-law on each other at the drop of a hat if there’s a parking, pet or noise issue? Do we talk to our neighbours less than in the good old days of Nepean when “people used to go next door and speak to their neighbours.”

The CBC says we’ve become Snitch City: “People in Ottawa are whining, complaining and telling tales about their neighbours’ pets, noisy teenagers and illegally parked cars, but they aren’t venting their frustration to their friends across the street: they are picking up the phone and calling the city.”

Councillor Chiarelli agrees: “In the past decade, complaining about neighbours has become the civic sport in Ottawa.”
a photo of Rick Chiarelli and Alex Lewis in jail has been removed because of a threat of legal action (Lida didn’t like it.)
Others dispute RC’s analysis:

HereHere: The City sure encouraged people to call when they launched 311. They promoted the heck out of it, so why are they surprised?

Secondly, this is a political city, so people know the channels to get things done.

Thirdly, even if you know your neighbors, you know it will worsen the relationship if you tell them they can’t run a business out of their house selling cars. It’s against the by-law, and the by-law needs to be enforced.

Finally, Chiarelli failed to mention the savings from these calls. I have reported potholes, some of which would be huge liabilities for the city if they caused accidents causing death (say, of cyclists, for example). Also, filling potholes promptly defers the HUGE expense of rebuilding roads. Certainly, there is going to be some abuse of any system, just talk to a 911 operator. To me, Chiarelli is the whiner. If he were a good politician, he’d inform residents what to call about, and what not to call about to save the city money.

P.S. I saw a man clearing snow from storm drains on his street yesterday to prevent flooding of his neighbors. He said it saves in taxes. I salute people like him. Those are great neighbors.

Nick: “I am not sure what Mr. Chiarelli is talking about. As usual.

I live downtown and commuters from all over the suburbs, including his riding, block my driveway almost every week and Parking Control won’t give them a ticket UNLESS you call the City. We have people park in our driveway and leave little notes on the windshield that read “back in 5” or leave their cell number for us to call them. Once again, we can’t get a tow truck to remove these cars unless we call the police.

Maybe it has nothing to do with talking to our neighbours or our friends. I am sure you could cut down on the number of calls about parking if Parking Control hands out tickets to any car parked within six feet of a driveway. We have commuters park all day in a one-hour parking and if they get one ticket a week it is still cheaper than monthly parking. Maybe they should get a ticket once a day to stop a lot of calls to the City and we can make money for the City.

HuckFinn: Isn’t it great that fat cats like Chiarelli blame the citizens for the calls, when in fact the problem is that the City’s by-law team is incompetent. If there were proactive enforcement of parking and animal problems then there wouldn’t be so many calls. The fact is that by-law is useless. Try dealing with dog issues and you’ll discover that dogs have more rights than taxpayers. Either enforce the rules properly or make it a free-for-all and let people deal with their own issues.

WesternMark: Give people over abundant reasons to complain, facilitate the complaining by providing a 3 digit phone number and make the City response mandatory rather than realistic. Is it any wonder people don’t talk to their neighbours. The City makes it unnecessary.

Interesting that the reference year is pre-amalgamation. How many bylaws to complain about existed in 2000? One third what we have now? One third the population?

How often have the parking rules changed? Pick a neighbourhood with high parking complaints and track the changes to the rules and the actual number of public use parking spaces over the last ten years. Add in the number of private spaces and household private vehicle ownership numbers.

What I called “rules” are really “restrictions” which will drive up complaints. Increase restrictions (bylaws), spread them over a much larger area and population and not expect more complaints?

311 calls have grown steadily since amalgamation in 2000, with a third of the calls about parking problems, followed by complaints about animals, noise, property standards, signs, licensing, care of streets, parks, zoning and graffiti.

The City said the typical call costs about $200 for city staff to respond, with the total cost to taxpayers about $6 million annually.

In some areas, calling 311 has emerged as a legitimate strategy for dealing with residences where neighbours suspect unlawful or criminal activity. For example, police and community groups have actively encouraged Sandy Hill residents to call in noise complaints in their area, and as a result, Rideau-Vanier had 2,538 noise complaints, about four times the city average.

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