It Just Gets Worse…

On October 24, a Sunday, I woke up around 9:00 a.m.. I opened the curtains that overlook the backyard. At first glance it was obvious that things had happened in my yard overnight.

Two of my patio chairs were in unusal positions. One looked like it been thrown and tossed aside, the other was placed against the retaining wall, obviously to help someone climb over.

I quickly got dressed and had a look to try to understand what had happened.

One chair was violently tossed aside (center left), and a plywood section had been snapped in half.
I had lugged a bunch of discarded antique doors home in late August, and painted them black, to create a backdrop. One of the doors was thrown down, with char marks on it.
My back gate was open and the driveway gate looked like someone had opened it in a panic.
One of my patio chairs was by the dumpster next door. Did someone use it to help them climb in ?
There was a small pile of burnt men’s clothing, tossed into my yard.
A fire had been intentionally set in the bad area behind the gas station. There were more clothes and scorched wood.
As I walked around my yard, I discovered charred pieces of wood that had been taken from pile of offcuts used to hold a tarp down. There were offcuts painted black, so I knew these were mine. These appeared to have been tossed INTO my yard from the gas station side.
I didn’t have another piece of plywood to block off this area, which I felt was essential. I frankensteined a fix together to hold the wood in place, as I really did not want this visitor to return, and be able to easily access the yard again.

I knocked on three neighbour’s doors. Two had not seen or heard anything. The other is an early riser. He said there were three police cars and a fire truck at the gas station between about 7:30 and 8:30 a.m.. He thought he saw a guy being taken away in handcuffs – but he wasn’t watching like a hawk. There are OFTEN police cars next door for whatever is going on, chronically.

I felt unsettled. I called the police non-emergency number to try to get someone to call me back who could fill me in about what happened. The person who did left a message and told me to file a police report online, which I did.

Whatever happened was WEIRD. The only thing missing from my yard was a short piece of antique trim board that had rested against the tree, which I guess got burnt.

I assume that someone made a fire behind the gas station after 7:00 a.m., maybe to get warm ?

Did it get out control and they panicked, if they were trapped behind the fire at the end ? Is that why the SCRAM ! board got violently snapped in half into my yard ? Is that why charred pieces of wood were tossed back into my yard ?

What was the situation with my chairs though ? Was this person alone ? If they were with somebody did they try to help them get over the fence ?

But at what point were they prowling in my yard, picking up wood to burn ? And who would burn pressure treated lumber that was previously painted ?

I had slept through everything. Did the police bang on my door ? If so I didn’t hear a thing.

No one called me back.

No one from the gas station even left me a note telling me what had happened.

I figured there was no point in going over there to have an angry tantrum at whoever the lone staff person was. Maybe they didn’t even know this happened ? Maybe a customer called fire/police ?

In retrospect I felt lucky. Lucky that no one tossed a flaming piece of wood onto my roof while I slept. Lucky that just a few days prior I had moved the seven bags of wood pellets I use for cat litter FROM THE EXACT SPOT where the flaming wood had been tossed. They are also used for pellet stoves, and burn most excellently…

In August I met with my local city councillor, Michael van Holst. To date, he has been useless with my inquiries, and typically slow to reply, if he even does at all.

In August, I was feeling mightly ornery. I had removed the covers from the fence on my side, as it was my understanding that as per City of London there was a compliance order to repair the terrible fence. The terrible fence was so unsightly – yet there was no code whatsover that a fence has to be STABLE and properly built ! The Bylaw Enforcement Officer also warned me that if they removed the bad fence, that there was no law that could compell them to REPLACE IT – despite being a 24 hour business with vehicle traffic, which abuts a residence (mine). But the current fence code also prohibits me from building a fence that is even as high as the wretched one next door, due to my lower elevation. My fence rage was reignited.

I sent an email with lots of photos of the terrible fence to ALL the City Councillors with the heading “Is This The Worst Fence In London ?”. Many responded and told me that I had to deal with my own City Councillor for this matter. Probably due to peer scrutiny, I had a reply from M v H within record time !

To get a bylaw amended, your own city councillor must bring it up at a meeting, and propose an amendment to the bylaw. I printed out the fence and Property Standards code, with the pertinent areas highlighted. I also printed the fence code from Ottawa, that has specific, explicit standards for fences within that municipality, with highlights like that a fence must be “vertical”. I printed images of this ghastly fence. I gave MvH this packet, with a few notes. I also read him the relevant parts and also showed him the duct strapping, poor construction, shaky stability, etc.

Then he went away and has never replied to my emails.

He recently got in trouble for speaking at an anti-vaccination rally. He has refused to state whether he has been vaccinated or not, and has claimed that he is exempt from this because of his “creed” – which he then had to take time to compose.

So I guess the guy’s been busy ? I sent him a copy of the online police report with photos but he and his representatives have never acknowledged this.

I thought I would contact ESSO, to complain to head office. There is no published address for ESSO Canada. When I called and emailed customer service, I was sent in circles. Several representatives claimed that there “was no head office in Canada”. Really ? That seems very ODD. There are many ESSO gas stations and the truck that delivers the fuel that poisons my air and yard is clearly branded ESSO. I went in circles and left a message for someone from Mobil in Texas, who never called me back. In disgust I sent a registered letter to “Global Fuels” – the fine folks who dismissed my concerns about the unsafe lighting placed within 4′ of the vent openings. The same lighting that the TSSA and/or Electrical Standards Association DID think was a problem, and ordered removed.

To date, my registered letter, with LOTS of documentation about the multitude of issues happening next door, by one of their “branded wholesalers” has NOT been acknowledged.

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