An old VW Beetle rusts in green grass.

Photo Credit: Peter Pryharski / Unsplash

Keeping It Cute In Cumberland

Do we need tougher bylaws or better community spirit?

A new bylaw gives the village more power to crack down on nuisance neighbours

If you’re living in Cumberland, it might be time to bring some cookies around your neighbourhood. 

You know that neighbour who’s always making little comments about your “unique” lawn art or the “importance” of regular grass maintenance? You might be hearing a lot more from them very soon.

A new “good neighbour” bylaw could encourage your nosiest neighbours to make sure you start caring about your home just as much as they do.

If your yard is “cluttered” enough to annoy the local Karens, you’ll have to deal with more than just petty comments. Instead, you’ll likely be dealing with hefty fines and court time.

“The Village” has had enough with houses like 2721 Derwent Ave. The house had a whopping 33 complaints against it over “unsightly” building materials being left out during a non-permitted garage renovation.

Rachel Parker is Cumberland’s corporate officer. At the May 30th council meeting, she said the goal of the bylaw amendment is to give the city more power to enforce changes than the current nuisance bylaw.

“We’ve realized some of the shortcomings of the bylaw and the need for some further enforcement tools.”

The “tools” include making the owner pay for more than just the violations themselves. They’ll also have to pay charges for excessive complaints, officers giving orders to comply, and the cost of the city removing the offending articles themselves.

That means the more complaints you get, the more you’ll pay.

It could take a lot of cookies to smooth things out, and maybe a casserole to boot.

City council member Jesse Ketler said the amendment is only for the “most egregious properties.” But it’s hard to define the worst offenders. Do clotheslines count? Or wildflower lawns?

Council vetoed some aspects of the bylaw proposition. They’re allowing folks to store four vehicles per driveway. The original number was two. That’s a needed change for an ocean-side community where most retirees own a boat.

They also spoke up for the bees and will let folks keep dandelions to help pollinators.

Besides these changes, the bylaw was passed in full.

Time to get baking.