June 26, 2014 1:52 pm

City apologizes to angry homeowner for spray-painting lawn

WINNIPEG – A North Kildonan homeowner is angry after a city worker spray-painted a message on her front lawn.

“You know you get sad, then you’re mad, then you get angry. I’m getting angry now,” said homeowner Rose Lutz.

Lutz noticed the bright blue message spray-painted in large writing on her lawn on Monday night. It reads “No Leak H2O Makes Grass Grow.”

Earlier Lutz had noticed her front lawn was brown and soggy, and she thought there might be a leak underground.

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Lutz called Manitoba Hydro to check if it was a gas leak, but after inspecting her lawn, they reported it wasn’t. She then called 311, thinking it could be a water leak.

City crews went to her Kilystone Way home Monday to check the possible leak but found there was nothing out of the ordinary. While Lutz was home all day Monday, she didn’t get a phone call, knock at the door, or letter – instead she saw the spray-painted message later that night.

“That is not the procedure. The workers that come out have forms that they can leave in the mailboxes if no one’s home; they will typically talk to the resident if they’re home. This is just poor customer service and it’s not acceptable,” said North Kildonan Coun. Jeff Browaty.

“I don’t appreciate the unnecessary message on how to grow grass and using my yard as a canvas and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s vandalism,” said Lutz.

“We absolutely understand this customer’s concern. It was not appropriate, nor is it acceptable, for staff to provide our findings in this manner,” said a city spokesperson.

The next day, a city supervisor responsible for the crew that went to Lutz’s house called her to apologize.

“We are following up and taking appropriate measures with the staff, but as this is a personnel matter, the details are confidential,” said the spokesperson.

Lutz wants the employee fired. Her neighbours are also unimpressed.

“The city should be embarrassed. I’m sorry. They really should be embarrassed. I think what they did was totally unethical,” said Aileen Feicho, Lutz’s neighbour.

“I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed about the lawn situation as it is and they just added fuel to the fire,” said Lutz.

The city said staff will follow up Thursday and will do their best to remove the spray paint from Lutz’s lawn.

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