Niagara Falls Councillor seeks to strengthen property standards by-law

Councillor Mona Patel believes that action must be taken to ensure that grass and weeds are kept under control on both residential and corporately owned properties. Pictured: Councillor Mona Patel. Photo Credit: City of Niagara Falls. 

The City of Niagara Falls is a world-renowned tourist destination. The municipality is known for its natural beauty, proximity to the United States, as well as its innovative economic industries. Niagara Falls also has an exponentially growing population. A key problem that residents from all walks of life have identified as concerning, however, is a backsliding on property maintenance. 

Mona Patel currently serves as a Niagara Falls City Councillor. Patel believes that action must be taken to ensure that grass and weeds are kept under control on both residential and corporately owned properties. 

“While serving as a City Councillor over the past two years, one of the major complaints I have received, particularly during the summer, is regarding a general lack of property maintenance,” Patel shared in a recent interview with The Niagara Independent. “There are businesses that are not adequately maintaining boulevards, which is resulting in health and safety concerns as people can trip and fall because of overgrown weeds.”

“In addition, when weeds and grass are not maintained, they can come through the pavement, causing it to crack. Then, if water gets in, we have permanent damage to streets and sidewalks, which is also a significant safety hazard and burdensome expense.” 

Patel is convinced that resolving this problem is essential to maintaining quality of life for residents and the second-to-none experience that tourists from around the world expect. 

“Travelers come to Niagara Falls because we are known for having high standards of service and are a world-class destination,” she explained. “And, our residents, who pay some of the highest taxes in the province, deserve better.” 

There are also far-reaching concerns that wildlife issues, including an increasing presence of rats and coyotes in residential neighborhoods, are being instigated by properties not being maintained. 

“One of our most significant issues is vacant homes,” shared Patel. “There are too many cases in which a home is empty, and the owner of the property may not be ensuring that the lawn is being cut and the weeds are being kept under control.”  

“In these instances, residents would not know if there could be a rat or a coyote, for example, hiding in the wet, overgrown grass near a sidewalk. Vacant lots are definitely a big issue.” 

In advocating for an enhanced framework on by-laws and enforcement, Patel says she is grateful to the many individuals and businesses who go the extra mile to keep their properties looking pristine. 

“When you go down to the Falls, and near the Niagara Parks Commission, they do a great job,” Patel said. “And, thank you to so many of our residents who do a wonderful job of beautifying their yards.”

“However, even when nine out of ten property owners on a residential block or commercial area are meticulous about grass care and weed prevention, it only takes one instance of a property not being maintained for everyone to suffer, and that is why we need to work toward addressing the issue, for all of us.” 

Patel would like to facilitate better communication between the by-law department and property owners regarding mandatory standards, as well as regarding what property boundaries each person and/or business is responsible for maintaining. Patel plans to introduce her motion to expand the scope of the property standards by-law during a July 16th meeting of City Council. It is the ultimate hope of Patel that tangible steps will be taken to address the issue prior to the conclusion of the 2024 growing season. 

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