Ottawa neighbours pit against each other in bylaw war

What began as a dispute over snow clearing on a shared driveway near Britannia Park has resulted in a City of Ottawa order to destroy a decorative garden that has taken a decade to create.

'It seems to be a get-even tactic for a neighbourhood dispute that should never have gone this far'

Neighbours in Britannia Park are pitted against each other over concrete barriers and a front-yard garden. Now the City of Ottawa has stepped in, ruling that both neighbours are violating bylaws. (CBC)

What began as a dispute over snow clearing on a shared driveway near Britannia Park has resulted in a City of Ottawa order to destroy a decorative garden that has taken a decade to create. 

Chris Edwards told CBC News that a bylaw requiring that landscaping must be set back four metres from the road is being used as a bully tactic by his neighbour on Zephyr Avenue.

Edwards was ordered to tear up the garden after bylaw officers visited his home — but it was he who made the first bylaw complaint against his neighbour over what he described as "rather unsightly" concrete barriers that extended onto his property.

'He gets nasty. I get out of my vehicle, he sticks out his tongue."- Giam Piero DelGesso, on his neighbour Chris Edwards

"It seems to be something that's almost a get-even tactic for a neighbourhood dispute, which I don't think should have gone this far," Edwards said.

Giam Piero DelGesso told CBC News that he put up the barriers in February after Edwards ignored repeated requests to stop throwing snow on his side of the driveway. Delgesso said he was willing to remove the dividers but was waiting for an apology he never received.

"I didn't want to push it any further but he gets nasty. I get out of my vehicle, he sticks out his tongue," he said. 

30 days to comply

In the end, bylaw officers visited both homes — and ordered both families make changes within 30 days. 

DelGesso must push back the concrete barrier while Edwards must uproot parts of his garden, which includes plants, rocks and driftwood, to comply with the rule that landscaping must be set back four metres from the road.

"We think the neighbours like the garden," Edwards said. "It enhances the beauty for the neighbourhood. It's terrible shame that it has to be ripped up."

But DelGesso disagrees about his neighbour's landscaping.

"I don't see an advantage of having that," he said. "It's all dangerous. People drive by, little children have fallen on there. Dogs go on there, they can get hurt."
Part of this front-yard garden on Zephyr Avenue must be ripped out because it's violating a bylaw that requires landscaping to be set four metres back from the street. (CBC)

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