There are two buildings in Weston that really get under my skin. Every time I see them, they upset me.
They’re the houses at 2276 and 2274 (or so) Weston Road. For much more than a decade, they’ve been falling down. They’re patently dangerous, but since I’ve lived here they’ve remained standing—becoming ever more hazardous and ever uglier.
Today, on my way to pick up dinner, I thought I’d stop by. There’s a fence, after
a fashion, on the front of the property—but it has gaps, and there’s nothing at all on the side of the property.
The roof and first storey on the rightmost building has fallen in, and it’s possible to see daylight and snow in the house. The porch roof, too, has collapsed. The roof of the taller building is collapsing, and it looks like someone has been prying at the boarding on the back.
I am not a lawyer, but the half-hearted fencing and missing boarding both seem to be bylaw violations. The city says that all vacant buildings must be securely boarded up and that the owners of hazardous buildings “shall erect and maintain fencing to prevent access to the property.” The fencing is supposed to be made permanent if work isn’t being done on the building.
There are larger issues: it’s not at all clear why, even after 10 years, the bylaws aren’t being enforced.
It’s especially unclear why the city allows houses to fall down—and to drag property values with them. I once got a whopping ticket for putting out my trash on the wrong day, but it seems that allowing my whole property to become a dump would be a-okay.
And it’s totally opaque to me why we—you and I—haven’t complained until these homes got fixed. Those houses are a necrotic spot on Weston’s artery. Did we stop noticing the ache? Were we hoping it would pass?