Sunday, January 2, 2011

The garbage truck war

If you live in the neighbourhood, just the title of this post may conjure up images of your own battle with the municipal waste removal authorities. If you're from afar you probably have no concept of the depth of conflict we experience with our garbage.

It started almost two years ago when we first began to explore this idea of building a mini home. Barb and Roger's property is cornered by two laneways and the garbage truck uses these back alleys to collect our waste. In order to build on the site Barb and Roger had to sacrifice a wedge of their yard to the city. For 18 years the garbage trucks have been able to manoeuvre the corner successfully, yet an improvement like a laneway home suddenly triggered a need for a bigger turning radius. After many phone calls back and forth with the city and the unleashing of the tenacious Barbara Purdy, we were able to negotiate a setback of five feet rather than ten.

Then the fence came down and the building began. You know how they say "Good fences make good neighbours."? Well, I now totally understand the importance of delineating the separation between 'mine' and 'yours'. Since the building has begun, the weekly garbage removal has generated significant anxiety in our household. This angst used to be limited to whether or not we'd see our blue box intact at the end of the day. But that has now grown to more significant worries like - will the truck tear off our roof as it turns the corner?

It happened for the first time in early December and by New Years day the truck hit again. It took a sharp turn onto our property and hit the roof. It tore off some of the cedar under-siding and made a big dent in the roof. The City is responsible for fixing this but in the meantime we need to come up with a plan.

Other neigbours have cemented steal poles that stick up out of the ground five fee high. The garbage trucks still hit them but it at least it saves them damage to their backyards.

While we know the pole would be effective, we're less excited about the look especially since it will be right by our front door. Instead we're exploring getting an old bollard from a ship yard. This would have been used to tie up cruise ships. They are huge, heavy and (if I do say so myself) quite attractive barriers. That said, this permanent fix may still be a few months away so any ideas on what we can do temporarily in the meantime would be very welcome!

January 12th, 2011 - We've found a 'crappy' temporary solution. We've moved the outhouse to the corner of the property.


  1. i like the steel posts. Food idea. You may want to check out what embassys in some countries use as barriers. eg.. the American embassy in Ottawa but now has removed them. Some in the Balkans were quite nice. Those in Afghanistan might be too intruding!!

  2. Okay, we have found a temporary solution. The outhouse has been moved to the corner of the house and is now a blatant and obvious 'crappy' protection for our home. I've added a picture of the change to the end of this post.

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