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City council called on to tidy up bylaw that governs messy lawns

LONDON, ONTARIO —The City Council of London, Ontario, is under pressure to revisit an outdated and confusing property maintenance bylaw that has come under fire for its ambiguous language. The issue stems from concerns critics and residents raised, particularly regarding fines imposed on naturalized lawns. Mary Ann Hodge of Climate Action London initiated a petition that garnered over 200 signatures, urging the council to clarify terms like "weed" and "grass" within the bylaw.

One resident, Susan McKee, faced penalties due to her natural garden being mistaken for overgrown grass. The petition also advocates for an improved reporting process. Notably, only a handful of complaints this year revolved around natural gardens, with safety being the primary concern.

The call for action underscores the necessity of addressing the outdated bylaw to accommodate the evolving landscape of property maintenance, especially as climate concerns and preferences for naturalized yards gain traction. Corrine Rahman, a councillor representing Ward 8, advocates for an educational approach before jumping into a bylaw review, while Sam Trosow, the Ward 6 councillor, supports the need for a comprehensive review.

The council's decision will hold significant implications for the city's property owners, who are grappling with finding a balance between maintaining their yards and adhering to the bylaw's standards. While the specifics of when the bylaw might be reviewed are uncertain, the community's voice through petitions and concerns about fines for naturalized lawns has compelled the council to address the matter.

The current scenario reflects a broader debate about urban landscaping practices and the need to align regulations with changing environmental and social priorities. As discussions continue, the City Council faces the task of striking a balance between preserving community aesthetics and promoting sustainable, nature-friendly approaches to property maintenance. The ultimate decision will likely influence the bylaw's language and the city's overall approach to managing green spaces in a rapidly evolving urban context.



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