Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Community interest

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A Winnipeg man is taking the city to court over a bylaw that requires homeowners to mow the grass on civic-owned land adjacent to their property. When the new policy on boulevard maintenance was passed 12 years ago, there was some grumbling, but the vast majority of citizens recognized it was not an unfair burden.

Most homeowners were already mowing the boulevards next to their properties because they didn't want to wait for the city and because it only added a few minutes of extra work. Waiting for the city to show up, moreover, meant the grass on some boulevards was trimmed on an uneven schedule, creating an irregular appearance to the turf in front of a home.

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Some homeowners, however, including the south Winnipeg man who is challenging the city's bylaw, have corner lots, with two boulevards. Mowing the grass might involve an extra five or 10 minutes' work, instead of the usual two or three for owners of small lots.

The bottom line is the bylaw is not an unreasonable infringement. It is an efficient way of ensuring neighbourhoods are maintained and tidy, while demanding only the slightest amount of labour from citizens. As such, the bylaw serves the common interests of the community, even if it doesn't appeal to every single homeowner.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Gerald Flood, Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 7, 2012 A10

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