Windsor councillor looking for 'proactive approach' to keep paved alleys clean and safe

An alley is pictured in downtown Windsor on Monday, August 24, 2020. (Ricardo Veneza / CTV Windsor)

A call for a more proactive approach when it comes to enforcement of issues in paved alleyways in Windsor.

Ward 4 councillor Mark McKenzie asked administration during the July 10 meeting of council to come back with a report on the feasibility and cost of having bylaw enforcement officers conducting regular inspections of the city's paved alleyways.

The bylaw enforcement officers would be focused on looking for a range of issues such as potholes, over grown trees, garbage, graffiti, dumping or encampments. 

Once an issue is identified, the enforcement officers would either address it with property owners or contact and collaborate with the appropriate city department or service.

McKenzie says most of the problems are only addressed once a complaint is issued and he would like to have "more eyes" on the alleys to provide another way to address any issues.

"That way we kind of address the problems as they're happening as opposed to sometimes these problems linger for weeks or months and nobody sees them because maybe no one goes up and down that alley," he says. "Now bylaw will be going up and down that alley and will be able to get these problems address in a timely manner."

An alley cleaned up by the Good Neighbour Service in downtown Windsor, Ont. on Monday, April 10, 2023. (Sijia Liu/CTV News Windsor)

An alley cleaned up by the Good Neighbour Service in downtown Windsor, Ont. on Monday, April 10, 2023. (Sijia Liu/CTV News Windsor)

McKenzie says this is all about education for property owners more than anything.

"Here's some numbers you can call to help clean it up, or hey, you have this mattress that's behind your house. Garbage collectors won't pick it up but you can call 3-1-1 for bulk pickup," he says. "This isn't to try to scare residents, it's more to help them, to help keep these alleys clean and help keep them maintained."

McKenzie says he wants to see some options on what could be done, whether that involves hiring more bylaw officers, contracting out the additional duties, or even launching a pilot project to explore the issue.

"Let's see what the costs are going to be, let's see what kind of resources are going to be needed to implement this," he says. "But again, it's more about being targeted and proactive in these paved alleys to address the garbage and land maintenance concerns that come up."

A report on the issue will be brought back to a future meeting of city council.