Mississauga cracks down on clotheslines

TORONTO – Do you live in Mississauga? Like the sight (or smell) of clothes drying on the line in the summer?

You could be breaking a new city bylaw.

If your clothesline’s too high, too close to your neighbour, if there’s more than one or if you’ve hung it in your front yard, you’re in trouble.

Mississauga’s city council has passed new regulations restricting the use of outdoor clotheslines.

There have been 14 complaints about clotheslines in Mississauga since 2009.

Municipalities in Ontario cannot ban clotheslines outright due to the Ontario Green Energy Act. But they can pass bylaws regulating their use.

Montreal is the only other municipality in Canada to regulate clotheslines, restricting them to backyards.

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Mississauga’s restrictions are similar but more complex: Homeowners are restricted to one per home unless they have a second licensed unit – like a basement apartment – in which case there can be two. Clotheslines must be in the backyard, no higher than three metres and must be at least 1.25 metres from the property line.

“Like most city bylaws, the bylaw will be enforced on a complaint basis,” Mickey Frost, director of enforcement in Missisauga said. “If an infraction is found..and if not addressed charges will be laid under the Provincial Offences Act,” said

The bylaw was enacted in response to a letter from two Mississauga residents, Paul Del Grande and Steve DeVoe, characterizing their neighbours’ clothes-drying conduct as “blatant” and “disturbing.”

“The residents at this address have [demonstrated] their lack of respect and common sense by not considering the right of visual, and quiet enjoyment of their neighbourhoods,” DeVoe wrote in the letter.

In an interview Thursday, DeVoe said there was close to 18 clothesline on a “pulley system” in his neighbour’s backyard and they are constantly full of clothes.

“I personally think it doesn’t have anything to do with drying clothes.  I think we’re as environmentally friendly as anybody.  We’re not against clotheslines we have our own clothesline we’re a family of 5,” said DeVoe

“I don’t think anyone wants this happening to them and this could happen anywhere.”