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June 2, 2009
Toronto launches enforcement strategy for long grass and weeds
This month, the City of Toronto kicks off an enforcement blitz to deal with the problem of properties that are overgrown with long grass and weeds. The Municipal Licensing and Standards Division wants to ensure that as summer gets into full swing, properties are maintained and long grass and weeds are removed as soon as possible. The Toronto Municipal Code, Chapter 489, regulates the maximum height of grass and weeds on private property at 20 centimetres.

This enforcement strategy will see municipal standards officers across the city proactively inspecting properties where long grass and weed problems have occurred in the past. Staff will also respond to residents’ phone calls about offending properties. The strategy is designed to ensure the bylaw is adhered to by property owners, keeping Toronto clean, safe and beautiful.

“We have set the month of June as Long Grass and Weeds Month, as this is the time when most properties that are not attended to begin to exceed the maximum height as outlined in the bylaw,” said Lance Cumberbatch, Director of Investigation Services, Municipal Licensing and Standards. “Enforcing the bylaw at this time encourages property owners to continue to do the proper maintenance through the growing season.”

Notice will be given to the property owner when a property is not in compliance with the bylaw. Property owners will be given a minimum of three days to comply with the bylaw. If, upon re-inspection by municipal standards officers, the grass and weeds have not been tended to, the City will have a contractor go in and cut the grass and weeds (as well as remove any debris from the site). The property owner will be charged with the cost of the maintenance.

The recipient of a notice can request that the issuance of the notice be reviewed by the local community council if the property owner thinks the growth should be exempt because it qualifies as a natural garden. The community council can grant an exemption as a natural garden or confirm the notice and direct that a second notice be issued.

Councillor Howard Moscoe, Chair of the Licensing and Standards Committee, said, “Cut your grass or we'll do it for you. If the City has to cut it for you, it will cost you significantly more than if you had hired a gardener. But don't do it for us - do it for your neighbours and the neighbourhood.”

Lance Cumberbatch concluded, “As with all the inspections and investigations that City staff conduct, it is our goal to get compliance with the bylaw. We strive to create a city that is well maintained for its residents and visitors, and expect this enforcement strategy will assist in achieving that goal.”

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contact: Fernando Aceto, Co-ordinator, Investigation Services, Municipal Licensing and Standards, 416-397-7788,



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