Our lead story in the print edition of The Leader this week describes the impending eviction of the tenant from the apartment in Carman House. Carman House, a 200-plus year old building in Iroquois which houses a museum, is owned by South Dundas. Elly Bosman is being evicted from Carman House to make more room for storage. The eviction was only initiated after Bosman reported apartment deficiencies, including two leaking windows. To date those windows have not been repaired: damage to the building continues.
There was no discussion between landlord and tenant, only a trip to the Landlord and Tenant Tribunal. South Dundas’ actions was akin to using a sledgehammer to swat a fly. The municipality chose to evict the complaining tenant, instead of fixing the issue. In addition, the municipality slapped a notice on Carman House in bold red tape stating it was an “unsafe building”. This took place in the middle of the tourist season.
This heavy-handed approach to communication and tenant relations is not good for the residents of South Dundas, nor for staff, administration and council. It creates, or reinforces, two negative impressions in South Dundas.
The first impression is that this municipality is unfriendly. If you have an issue with the local government, don’t bother complaining about it. You will not be able to discuss it, and even simple requests could land you in legal hot water.
The second impression is that South Dundas continues to be woefully neglectful of its properties, which are also our properties.
The Leader reported last week the Iroquois Civic Centre will receive a $200,000 new roof, thanks in part to leftover Canada 150 funds. Yet a $5,000 repair to two broken windows in Carman House still needs to be completed nine months after it was first reported. Carman House pre-dates the civic centre by over 140 years. No wonder the Forward House is, as one councillor deemed it at a recent council meeting, “too far gone.” Woeful neglect and a lack of priorities will do that.
Staff receive their direction from administration, who are, in turn, directed by council. A council is ultimately directed by and answerable to the public. Right now, this municipality is perceived as being heavy-handed and neglectful of our assets. A retiree has been evicted, and buildings continue to decay. Bad impressions all round.