Dear Lezlie Lowe,
I read your column in last week's issue of The Coast and was struck by the familiarity of your situation regarding the auto body shop you describe. I sympathize with you regarding the lack of cooperation you have received from the authorities, because that has been close to my experience as well. Two years after we purchased our home, the owners of a vacant building across the street from us modified the building without notifying the neighbourhood and moved in an auto body shop. Within six months this body shop was parking both staff vehicles and damaged cars in front of our homes; within a year the shop was working with its bay doors constantly open, and on vehicles parked on the street. After two years of attempting to reach some sort of agreement with the manager of the business, we finally appealed to the city. We kept in constant contact with our councillor and a changing array of city officials, and earlier this year a ticket was finally issued, which the business has chosen to appeal. That was five months ago; the case will be heard in two months. If the ticket stands, we will have been living with this situation for five years before the shop receives the first consequence of being a nuisance neighbour.
You have touched on a neighbourhood issue that I believe deserves greater exposure. Certainly, the lack of quick response to complaints of the misuse of city property flies in the face of last year's proud announcement that the HRM was declaring our neighbourhood part of the Provincial Capitol District, with attendant strict enforcements of bylaws regarding unsightliness and development.
By Philip Doucette