Sunday, July 10, 2011

A message is sent

When you don't live in a neighbourhood and you see a sign like this, it is of passing interest and perhaps a gentle reminder to not litter.  But when you live here, you realize that there is a rich and ongoing story behind such a sign, a history of neighbours, conflicting use of space and cultural and demographic assumptions.  Though I usually fall on the fascistically clean side in these kinds of arguments, I am sort of on the fence here.  On one side, we have a residential building that is used as a commercial garage.  I'm pretty sure it is them who tend to leave fairly large piles of junk (though strangely, it's rarely automotive stuff) in this section of the alley, which then becomes a magnet for other junk leavers (including me on occasion).  I am pretty sure what you are supposed to do is leave the big junk in the front of the street where it will get picked up.  I don't like all the garbage in the alleys, but on the other hand, sometimes you do have a ton of clippings that need to get put out.  And when the alley is full of stuff, it blocks people from driving through, and I'm always in favour of blocking cars.  My larger concern about too much fussiness around the alleys is it starts to get close to restricting people's ability to do projects in their yards.  Too much officiousness back here and we could end up like Vancouver where you aren't allowed to have a clothesline.  It's a balance.


D said...

Vancouver certainly is prim and proper, but it does have a lot of clotheslines. Do you have a source on that claim? Should I be worried about bylaw enforcement coming by and ticketing me? I would love to know that the self-proclaimed greenest city of all time ever banned clotheslines...!

OlmanFeelyus said...

It was a spurious claim indeed. I was just lashing out at poor Vancouver as usual. I do suspect, though, that there are areas where clotheslines are forbidden (and they may well have them here in Montreal as well). Think of it more as a symbol of excessive cleanliness. I'd be curious to hear from others where are the no-clothesline neighbourhoods in North America.