By Fred Wallace
There was a story out of Nepean around Christmas where a neighbour cited an Ottawa bylaw and as a result a family backyard rink was altered.
The ice & rink weren't the issue, the problem was the boards that had been constructed by the family in theory to enhance to look and feel of the rink.
Actually, the boards weren't cosmetically appealing for the neighbour and so they squawked to the city & the bylaw officials.
The rink, according to the city, violated several bylaws:
- Possible damage to utility lines from stakes driven in the ground to put the boards up
- Driver sight lines and the chances a puck could hit someone passing by
- & Violation of zoning rules that prevent permanent or temporary structures on front or side yards
....and the boards were taken down.
All of which reminded me of days gone by.
The house I first grew up in was at 189 Robert Street in Midland, bordered by Nelson & Wellington Street, so essentially our family had most of a block for a tomato and vegetable garden.
In the winter, that garden became Wallace Gardens and there were great hockey games staged from the mid 60's until we moved to Donalda Street in 1971.
Kenny Desjardins, Frankie Palmer, Danny Lethbridge, guys from our neighbourhood & far beyond played on that rink for months each winter.
In fairness, Wallace Gardens had snowbanks & not boards, but even if we did have boards, I sincerely doubt that the neighbours would have squealed.