April 1, 2019 6:19 pm

Beaurepaire Village garage in battle with Beaconsfield

The City of Beaconsfield is enforcing its regulation regarding the installation of storage containers on private property. As Global's Dan Spector explains, the practice has been tolerated for years but now a public complaint is prompting the city to crack down.

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Controversy over storage has struck Beaconsfield’s Beaurepaire Village. The owner of a garage that’s been part of the landscape for decades is in a dispute with the city. Petitions are circulating, battle lines have been drawn and it all started with some metal shipping containers.

Alex La Braca has owned RPM Autotech in the Beaurepaire Village for nearly two decades. In addition to repairing cars, the garage offers a tire storage service. He stores the tires in two large, white shipping containers behind the garage.

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“I noticed all senior citizens could not get the tires out of their house and bring them here and then put them back in their shed,” said La Braca.

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The big metal boxes are now at the centre of a conflict with the city.

“By May 15, I think these things have to be gone. They don’t care about the senior citizens,” he said. “They don’t care about my business basically.”

According to a Beaconsfield bylaw, the containers are illegal. In Beaurepaire Village, using containers as storage is not permitted.

“Beaurepaire Village is a very distinct environment,” explained Beaconsfield Mayor Georges Bourelle.  “We want the village to be inviting.”

La Braca said the containers have been on the property for 12 years.

“Nobody has ever said anything. Nobody has ever complained,” said La Braca.

The containers aren’t visible from the street, but recently somebody complained.

“The people up the street basically threw us under the bus,” said La Braca.

Bertony Garage, located one block away, has had repeated disputes with the city over the appearance of their property.

“There have been a number of complaints from people in the area close by, in the Beaurepaire Village, saying this property is a disgrace,” Bourelle said of Bertony Garage.

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The city told Bertony to remove a container from their property. La Braca alleges Bertony blew the whistle on RPM.

“They were saying ‘We’re not allowed to have containers, neither should Alex,'” said La Braca.

Global News asked Bertony Garage for an interview, but the interview request was denied.

La Braca is now asking customers to sign a petition to save the containers. Copies are available in person at the garage and online. He plans to present the dozens of signatures to the city at a meeting on Tuesday.

“Is everybody going to have to give up their containers because of one bad apple?” said La Braca.

“A petition will not change a bylaw,” said Bourelle, pointing to the importance of enforcing the rules.

La Braca questioned why the Beaurepaire Village merchants have to remove their containers, but at the Beaconsfield Public Works yard there are a number of containers on the premises.

“I don’t think you can compare public works with a property in Beaurepaire Village,” said Bourelle.

Bourelle says he hopes RPM can find another way to store the tires, but La Braca says any alternative will be bad for business.

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