A Cockburn Drive woman's back and front yards are a "breeding ground for rodents", neighbours say.

Natural garden causes rodent problem, neighbours say

A Scarborough woman’s back and front yards have become a source of controversy in her community.

During a community meeting on Oct. 10, Annemarie Leepel was granted exemption from the bylaw that states that grass and weeds longer than 20 centimetres should be cut, and her yard was given “natural garden” status. However, Leepel’s neighbours are concerned the tall plants may be a breeding ground for rodents.

Leepel was denied exemption in September after an officer from the Parks, Forestry and Recreation division reported after an inspection that the weeds in Leepel’s front yard were “growing out over the public sidewalk, impeding pedestrians passing by.” Leepel later had the weeds cut and was granted permission to keep her “natural garden” after the Scarborough community council meeting earlier this month.

it’s a breeding ground for rodents.

— Linda Worrell

But according to Leepel’s next-door neighbour, Linda Worrell, the front yard is the least of the neighbours’ concerns.

“They didn’t even mention … the backyard, but it’s a breeding ground for rodents,” said Worrell.

According to Worrell, the tall weeds and other plants have attracted mice and raccoons, and they’re crossing over to the neighbours’ backyards.

“No less than every second week, I had to take a dead mouse out of my barbeque from the bottom,” she said.

Worrell also said that the next-door neighbours on Leepel’s other side have found dead mice in their pool on numerous occasions. Another neighbour, who asked not to be named, is concerned because the raccoons have taken shingles off their roof. The neighbour was also concerned that they would have trouble selling their property, if they wanted to, because of the rodent problem.

It’s possible that Leepel might not actually get to keep her “natural garden,” because according to Worrell, the neighbours are planning to fight back on the grounds that the rodent problem was not addressed. A Toronto bylaw states that “All properties shall at all times be kept free of rodents, vermin, insects and other pests and from conditions which may encourage infestation by pests.”

Leepel was unavailable for comment.

One comment:

  1. I am wondering why this neighbour believes that a garden with tall plants breed rodents. Wildlife such as mice, rats and raccoons are common in Toronto–and they live in houses, not gardens. Toronto is interesting because we all live together and we are all so different. In my neighbourhood, this kind of garden is the norm, and mowed lawns are seen as environmentally and ecologically damaging. Surely, we can all live together and try to appreciate our differences and learn from them.

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