A family in Orleans says it's been the target of more than 40 bylaw complaints in the last two years, some of which resulted in the removal of a fence against their wishes on Monday.
Moe Haider has lived in a corner lot on Clendenan Crescent with his four children, his wife and her two parents — who own the property — for the past four years.
The first bylaw complaints against them started coming in a couple of years ago. Haider said they've ranged from snow removal issues to incorrectly parking in their driveway to putting Christmas lights on city-owned trees lining their property.
"I don't know what I've done. I've never done anything to anybody," Haider said.
He doesn't know who is making the complaints to the city.
"I wish they can come over and talk to me and say, 'Hey listen, I've got a problem.' We'll have supper and talk it over and get it over with," he said.
"This has been going on for years. I want to live here, I'm not moving."
Last year, when Haider and several neighbours decided together to buy a dark-brown plastic fence, he said he called the city's 311 line to get advice about where to put it.
Haider said he was transferred to a bylaw officer who looked at a map and told him he could install the fencing about 2.7 metres, or nine feet, away from the curb.
No record of advice, city says
The fence was put up in late July, 2012. The first complaint came in on July 30 that year, and a second complaint from another person was filed the following month, according to Linda Anderson, the city's chief of bylaw and regulatory services.
The family was then issued tickets by bylaw officers for putting up the fence on city property.
Anderson said that because Haider can't remember who he spoke to or when, there is no record of the advice he claims to have received.
After being ticketed, Haider inquired about buying the land in question from the city. The city said no, according to Anderson, and so Haider called Hydro Ottawa to ask about it.
Anderson said a Hydro Ottawa employee drove by the site to have a look at it, saw the fence and called the city to say there were 16,000-volt cables running close by.
"And they had huge concern for any installer that was working on it at the time, that they weren't electrocuted, and now they were saying that it was potentially a public safety issue because we don't know what the result might be if the fence post or part of the fence makes contact with 16,000 volts of hydro, if it will electrify the fence or not," Anderson said.
"So they then advised the city that this fence should be removed as soon as possible because they were concerned about the public safety issue with the hydro line so close to the fence post."
Family to be issued bill for fence removal
On Monday morning, a crew of six workers arrived and began to remove fencing panels and 19 fence posts cemented two feet into the ground.
The workers were supervised by two bylaw officers and three police cruisers.
The removed section of fence cost about $18,000 to install, Haider estimated. He'll also be given a bill from the city for the cost of removing the fence.
Haider has been knocking on doors in his neighbourhood to find out who has a problem with his fence, and he said he hasn't found anyone yet. He put a petition together and sent the list of signatures to the city, he said.
He said he's tired of the complaints complicating his family's life.
"This is not going to stop at this, this is just one thing and it's going to keep continuing," Haider said. "Clearly … this person is being helped by the system to play the system against one house."