Sandy Hill trash talk

Larry Newman

I’ll bet you didn’t know that you cannot store garbage within three metres of a window or door of your house. Fascinating, eh? Maybe you should take a garbage test. The following questions are illustrated using a mix of pictures from Sandy Hill and from the net.


 Do you see any bylaw violations? How many?

Answer – plenty. Property Standards Bylaw 2013-416 requires garbage and organic matter to be stored in watertight containers with lids secured. Containers must protect against rats and vermin. Debris is also reportable. These containers are located at the front corner of the buildings, also illegal. They must not be stored where they are visible from the street.





Any violations here?

Answer: I suspect there are 12 bags at the curb. Ottawa’s solid waste Bylaw 2012-270 only allows up to 6 approved containers including bulky items. That is, 6 total per residence.






These bins are nicely lined up, lids closed. Very neat, right?

Answer – However, they are very easily seen from the street. These bins need to be enclosed so that they are not visible from the street. A side benefit: no one can report them for graffiti, which is also illegal.




Again a neat street scene. Legal?

Answer – Almost. The green bin is perfect, the bag not so perfect. I once visited a recycling processing station in Ottawa. One of the problems they told me about is the time it takes to tear apart the bags. Bags are not an authorized container for recycled material.







How about the front porch. It’s OK to store recyclables there, no?

Answer – Well, no. As of 2017, all recycling must also not be visible from the street.







Graffiti is a problem in Sandy Hill also. Should we tell the City about it?

Answer – For these boxes scattered around the neighbourhood, we must contact the owners. That isn’t always easy as there is often no label. I suspect that most are Rogers cable boxes.

With exception of graffiti on the cable/hydro/Canada Post boxes, all graffiti can be reported to Bylaw Enforcement. A simple way to do this is to call 311 and give the address and a statement of the problem. You will get a report number that can be used to check on compliance by calling 311 again. The easiest way, however, is to use the online form which can be found at This site will remember the user’s coordinates so, if another report is started at a later date, that part of the form is already completed.

As the Action Sandy Hill committee chair for Bylaw and Environment, I got to inventory garbage and recycling scofflaws every year. This past year, 199 addresses were in violation of garbage storage bylaw rules; 107 for recycling violations. I informed the city of the number of violations and advised where the more egregious violations occured. Please don’t hesitate to do the same. Call 311 or write. I’m looking forward to hearing fewer complaints about garbage and rats.

Photos submitted by Larry Newman