Please clarify city of Ottawa By-Laws to enable fair, consistent and objective enforcement

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In May of this year, my family moved into a wonderful neighborhood in Ottawa's South End, promptly creating a small vegetable garden in our front yard, on a small patch of yard separating our driveway from our neighbor's driveway. I intentionally used 1x6" cedar boards to create a border around my vegetable garden because I wanted to contain my good soil and prevent runoff and also because several of my neighbor's had 6" concrete borders for their driveways which extended right to the road. I read the city of Ottawa By-Laws thoroughly and even spoke to a By-Law information officer on the phone to ensure that my small garden edging was permissible. 

A neighbor then complained to By-Law about my growing of vegetables in the front yard, a practice which I was told was OK but, because they had come by to look at my yard, it was decided that my small garden boxes "encumbered the use of the boulevard" (in accordance with the Notice of Violation I received recently.)

I have been trying for months to obtain clear and concise information explaining why my wood borders are not permitted (but my neighbors' concrete borders are fine) and what is permitted. All I have been able to understand is that there is nothing in writing but that concrete is permitted but not wood (for no apparent reason) and that my wood borders are not considered a "retaining wall" because they hold a vegetable garden but my neighbors' concrete borders are, in fact "retaining walls" because they separate the grass from the driveway. 

I would like clear answers and clear direction for all City of Ottawa residents to ensure that other families do not need to experience such frustration for simply trying to follow regulations which are not available in writing and, in my case, feed their family fresh food grown in their yard.



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