City Bans Boulevard Garden

‘I question the logic’: City tells longtime homeowner to replace part of front garden with grass: Georgina King rebuilt her front garden as a retirement project, replacing grass with artfully arranged plants, bushes and stone walkways. That was 17 years ago and King, now 78, says she loves it.

Earlier this year, King received a notice of bylaw violation from the city telling her to “reinstate the city boulevard to its original state.” That means replacing the chunk of her front garden that the city owns as a right of way with grass, says King’s granddaughter, Ashley Wilson. If King doesn’t comply, the city could re-sod it and charge her for the work.

King says the notice of violation has caused her “much stress and sleeplessness” and her efforts to appeal the notice have gone unanswered by the city. “I question the logic of a bylaw that favours outdated grass lawns over environmentally friendly and water-conservative options,” she wrote in a letter to the city that she says has gone unanswered.

[Editor’s note: in May 2022, the city Transportation Committee approved a motion that could facilitate sustainable community gardening in the City-owned portion of front yards. The motion supports a comprehensive review of by-laws that eventually could support the development of gardening and naturalization in the City-owned right-of-way by local residents and community groups. Your editor is part of a small committee of the Ottawa Horticultural Society that is working with city staff to establish guidelines for implementing the proposed bylaw change.]

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