Monday, June 4, 2012

It's finally here... sort of; Roof still caving in

A month or so ago I attended a meeting to talk about the new garbage collection system that will be going city-wide, but more specifically about here in the North End as they replace the aging autobins. I live tweeted the event, mostly because I couldn't just stand up an yell and shout like I wanted to (although that didn't stop one crazy dude who kept getting off track) and partly because I don't normally attend things that people might be interested in hearing updates from.

One of the pieces of information that I was most excited to hear about was the new "App" that the City was going to have for/about waste collection. One of the things I find most difficult with reporting bulky waste to 311 is the inane questions that I get back from the operators before they will submit my complaint "ok, so you say there is an abandoned sofa behind the address in question (because god forbid you don't give them a specific address), how many inches is it away from the alley? (because if they deem it to be on private property, you know, not FULLY in the lane even though it's clearly abandoned then they send a different department, who will issue an order, and then the resident of the house will move it the few inches into the lane, and then you have to call it in again to have it picked up...) Does the sofa have a floral print or is a solid colour? (ok, I may have made this one up, but I'm sure I'll be asked it one day) So, it was my belief based on what we were told at the meeting, that an App was on the way that would allow us to report these things direct from our phone, including sending photos!

Well, the App is here, but, disappointingly does not offer what I was hoping for. The majority of the links seem to direct you to contact 311, have no automatic link to have your phone dial it, and the email function is also not at all what I find user friendly. It will let you send an email only from your email address set up on your phone (which I don't have as I have had difficulty setting up my Hotmail/Gmail and having them sync with things in real time) which does not offer the option of attaching a photo even if I could manage to use it. What it really needs is a built in contact sheet, similar to what their website offers for contacting 311 that does not require you to send it from your email directly but just from that page. (I'm sure there is a technical term for that but I have no idea what it is.)

Notice there is not even a email link on this page, nor mention of abandoned wast
The App also does not make mention of what to do in the case of illegally abandoned waste and how someone might go about reporting that. To be fair, the City doesn't seem to have been the ones to develop this App, but they need to be sure they're getting their moneys worth from this "My Waste" company and have them help to tailor it to our community.

This whole thing brings me to an excellent example of how I would use this App, if it worked in the way I wanted to. Following up on the work of A Day in the Hood, it seems as though the house that has been collapsing upon itself since at least September 15th 2010 (MY first email to the City about this problem) still isn't fixed. Sure, the house has gotten some attention, it looks a lot better from the front street now, but why the heck is the back addition still in this condition?

The roof keeps falling down further, and further...

This house is not occupied and the person who owns the property owns numerous properties in the community - if the cost of dealing with the problem is too great, perhaps they can sell off a property or two to help with that. If this property was actually occupied (as a primary/only residence) I could see the City extending leniency to allow the owner to raise the funds needed to fix the problem however I see no reasonable reason for this problem to continue.

1 comment:

  1. This resident was given a deadline of September of last year to deal with the back section of the house. I was told by the city planning employee that it had to be removed and could not be fixed and the city would act on it if the resident did not. I guess this is how the city acts on these sorts of issues.