Bylaw complaint not a neighbourly way to resolve dispute

I’m very concerned about a pattern of incidents recently of people complaining to the Saanich bylaw office about their neighbours

I’m very concerned about a pattern of incidents recently of people complaining to the Saanich bylaw office about their neighbours without going to see them first directly. This affects myself and friends and neighbours.

My story is that I received a visit from a bylaw officer saying a complaint had been received about a pile of junk, a carport (illegal accessory dwelling) and an unlicensed vehicle on the property. I went around with the officer and was assured we were doing all the right things. The junk went to the dump within two days, the carport is being dismantled, the vehicle had already been removed.

But the underlying problems remain. Not of us being bad neighbours, quite the contrary.

Other people right around here have junk piles, carports, aggressive dogs, buildings built or renovated without permits, etc. as well as setting off firecrackers overnight, dealing drugs and so on. I don’t try to make their life difficult or, say, prevent their kids from enjoying the treehouse they just made. If I really saw a problem I would go talk with them and see what could be done.

That’s what I did when the neighbour’s son who sold me a vehicle misled me about repairs done, and then failed to come fix it as promised. That’s why it was sitting there so long. I’m not going to go sue him and make trouble for his parents, unless it’s an absolute last resort and I’ve talked to them and they wash their hands or are hostile. In the end he fessed up, to his credit, it just took a bit of time.

A lot of the junk was cleaned up from the park that isn’t even on the property. I didn’t like seeing that and thought others would appreciate it being gone too. I’m not a hero, most people I know around here help each other without making a big deal about it.

It is so easy for someone to start something and then it degenerates into tit-for-tat. I am writing because you have a key role in helping put a stop to behaviour that can really poison our neighbourhoods here in Saanich.

The community is only going to get more diverse and we need to be tolerant. Maybe the city can send out a bylaw newsletter so we all know what the standards are. Until then and after, give people the benefit of the doubt and try to find a solution with them first.

Adam Gottlieb

Saanich