One day in the spring there was a guy in my backyard chipping away at the back wall of the gas station. At some point I went out and said hello, and said it was fine if he had to put up scaffolding or something, and that he could come and go through my back gate. In the back yard, next to the wall, there is a 36″ or so wide strip that belongs to them but isn’t fenced or otherwise marked.
No one spoke with me, or left a note in my mailbox advising that they would need to access the back of their building, which would mean they would be in my yard.
Since work was happening in this area I dug up any plants that might get crushed underfoot and moved them. I watched as the back wall was patched up. Over the years many of the cinderblocks had developed small holes. Some kind of small bird had colonized this, and there were many nests and bird apartments in this wall. I hoped that none of them got patched in.
There were a couple of big cracks in the wall that got sort of sewn together with rebar.
Part of the chain link fence adjacent to this strip got cut open and peeled back, so they could stucco the side of the building. This left a human sized gap that was easily accessible to my yard, that I really didn’t want. I piled up cinderblocks and pallets to block this off. I spoke with the factory to see if they intended to take down all the chainlink fence (no) and some guy hired by them patched up the hole.
One day there was a guy on a ladder painting the patched wall. I had hoped that to be neighbourly, since this wall was a big part of my yard, that perhaps someone might offer that I could pick the color ? I had even suggested this to one of the wall patch dudes. I would even BUY the paint. Nope – the wall was painted a blah grey color – which was better than brown or bright orange, it was true.
It seemed like the renovation was wrapping up. I had assumed that since this station was owned by Esso, that efforts would be made to make it like the other local Esso’s. These had grass and trees and shrubs planted around the perimeter. They also had tall fences, usually masonry, adjacent to any residential neighbours.
I spoke with the main guy I dealt with. I asked him if they were going to put up a fence. He sort of laughed and said no. I was confused. I assumed that there was a local bylaw that said there had to be one. He said the owner was coming the next day, in the afternoon and I could speak to him then. I had to work so I couldn’t. I had previously given the worker dudes my number, in case of emergency. I gave it to this guy, again, and asked him to have the owner call me, so I could talk to him about a fence.
No one ever called me.