Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday April 4, 2015
City trashes Good Samaritan for downtown parking lot cleanup
Ted Pundey didn’t expect to be paid for his volunteer cleanup — but he certainly didn’t expect to be fined.
Tired of looking out his downtown condo window at a parking lot full of trash (one the city says has been identified as an illegal dumping “hot spot”), he decided on Tuesday to clean up the mess near King William and John streets himself.
But the intended good deed cost him $125 after he was slapped with a fine by bylaw officers who had witnessed the cleanup — one they alternatively call “illegal dumping.”
“They caught me cleaning,” Pudney — a CBC video editor in Toronto — said Wednesday. When three officers had showed up he was pleased, assuming they were there to help.
But when they handed him a ticket, he was baffled — for one, this wasn’t even his garbage. And he’d stacked the boxes just metres from where he’d collected the trash. In doing so, the city says, he crossed an invisible line in the lot, from private property to a public alleyway portion.
“We have no issues with anybody helping to clean up a property, but if someone is disposing what they’re cleaning up off that property onto city property … then the taxpayer ends up paying for that,” the city’s municipal law enforcement manager Kim Coombs says.
Pudney — who moved from Toronto three months ago — didn’t realize the distinction: “I was doing this strictly to be a good guy. I had no agenda, other than that the area needs some attention.”
He’d purposely stacked the boxes against a posted sign in the alley, advertising designated pick-up times between 10 a.m. and noon on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)