Dorval garbage dumpers ordered to pay neighbour $15K

A Quebec Superior Court Judge has ordered a Dorval woman and her niece pay their neighbours more than $15,000 for leaving their garbage on the neighbours' front lawn for years.

"Some cases should never come to court. Let alone go to trial. This is one of them" wrote Justice Sylvain Lussier. 

"It is unfortunate, to say the least, that one should have to spend three days in court to establish that you can't dump your garbage on your neighbour's lot, be it technically the municipality's property, and that you should consult your neighbour before you build your fence on his property."

The dispute dates back to back to 2005 when the plaintiffs bought their home on Allard St. in Dorval. Their neighbour was an older woman who had lived there since 1976. 

The elderly woman would often put her garbage out on a strip of land technically owned by the City (first couple feet of every property), but in front of the couple's home. Despite multiple requests to stop leaving garbage there, the plaintiffs' say their neighbour would simply smile and continue doing it.

In 2009 the couple installed a small chain fence between two posts on the side of their lot that would prevent their neighbour from leaving her garbage on their lawn. After discussion the fence was removed on the understanding the elderly woman would stop leaving her garbage in front of her neighbours' property.

Which it did, until 2016, when the woman's niece moved in with her.

According to the ruling, the niece would deliberately put her garbage in front of the neighbours' property and if it was put back in front of her home "she would put it back."

The plaintiffs installed a surveillance camera outside their home, which prompted the elderly woman and her niece to build a fence, blocking them from its view. The fence only opened an entirely new can of worms because it was built on the plaintiffs' land.

The ruling then tells the tale of complaints to the city, one of the plaintiffs taking a day of off work to video tape his neighbours placing garbage in front of his home and then putting it back once it was removed.

Then came "the straw that broke the camel's back" wrote the Judge. On May 28, 2017, the plaintiff "found a large amount of sod and cut grass literally dumped in front of his property, not even placed in garbage bins or large paper bags."

That's when the police were called in.

"I went to speak to the residents in an effort to try and find a solution to this conflict but I was immediately confronted by a woman (I believe it's the owner's caregiver) who refused to make any concession that could possibly improve the relationship with her neighbors," wrote Constable Christopher Bell in his notes. 

"The woman claimed that they had always put their garbage there and they will continue to do so because it is a question of principle."

Bell, who had never been involved in such a dispute in his 17 years with the force, said he offered several solutions to the dispute.

"When I suggested moving the garbage to the north side of the driveway the woman categorically refused probably because it would have damaged her beautifully manicured lawn."

"When I suggested putting the garbage on the side of her driveway is also refused claiming that it would prevent her from getting the car out in the event of an emergency."

"I was completely shocked by the woman's unwillingness to negotiate a solution especially knowing that it would defuse the conflict enormously."

In the end the Judge ordered the garbage dumping woman and her niece to: pay their neighbours $15,000 in damages (plus legal fees), move the fence that was built on the Plaintiff's property, and to stop dumping their garbage in front of their neighbours' home.