Coun­cil has work to do

The Compass - - OPINION -

It’s of­ten been said that good fences make good neigh­bours. That’s not nec­es­sar­ily the case in Car­bon­ear these days, where, de­spite a firm, high fence run­ning down the prop­erty line, two neigh­bours on Park Av­enue are in a dis­pute.

It’s all over the park­ing of a school bus in a pri­vate drive­way on a res­i­den­tial street, and it’s got the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil and town of­fi­cials caught squarely in the mid­dle.

On one side there’s the bus driver. He keeps the big yel­low ve­hi­cle in his drive­way year-round. Dur­ing the school year, he makes three runs per day to pick up and drop off his young pas­sen­gers, in­clud­ing one early in the morn­ing. On cold morn­ings, it’s of­ten nec­es­sary to let the bus idle and warm up for long pe­ri­ods. The com­pany that owns the bus is lo­cated less than a kilo­me­tre away, but the driver prefers to park the bus in his yard be­cause it’s “con­ve­nient.”

On the other side of the fence is a cou­ple that built a home on the street five years ago, af­ter the hus­band was med­i­cally dis­charged from the Cana­dian Forces. They say their qual­ity of life is be­ing neg­a­tively im­pacted by the sit­u­a­tion, and com­plain that the en­gine noise and fumes are in­tol­er­a­ble. Their neigh­bour has re­fused to park the bus else­where, and the cou­ple’s re­peated at­tempts to get help from the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil have ended in frus­tra­tion.

The dis­pute has now gone pub­lic, with both sides stressing that they didn’t want things to get this far.

But here we are, and it’s time that the town coun­cil took a sec­ond, closer look at this is­sue be­fore the sit­u­a­tion de­te­ri­o­rates even fur­ther. Dis­putes like this are not new to mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in this prov­ince, or through­out Canada, for that mat­ter. No one wants a large com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle idling within 10 feet of their home, es­pe­cially early in the morn­ing, and it’s un­der­stand­able that this cou­ple is frus­trated. But on the other hand, coun­cil has to walk a fine line be­cause there are other, sim­i­lar cir­cum­stances in the town that may erupt if coun­cil makes a move.

But other mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, in­clud­ing St. John’s and Mount Pearl, have rules in place, and per­haps it’s time that coun­cil­lors in Car­bon­ear start pay­ing at­ten­tion to what their coun­ter­parts in other ju­ris­dic­tions have done. Here’s a sug­ges­tion. How about a park­ing per­mit sys­tem that coun­cil could ap­prove on a case-by-case cir­cum­stance, with a de­ci­sion be­ing made only af­ter re­ceiv­ing in­put from neigh­bours on ad­join­ing prop­er­ties? It’s not enough for town of­fi­cials and coun­cil­lors to just throw up their hands and say there’s noth­ing they can do be­cause no one is vi­o­lat­ing any by­laws. Cit­i­zens de­serve bet­ter than that.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.