owner will do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop
neighbours above spitting and tossing cigarettes
08 May 2017
hung this sign on his patio at his Toronto condo building. (Wayne
After more than a year of unsuccessfully trying to get condo
authorities to stop his neighbours from spitting and tossing cigarette
butts onto his patio, Wayne Russell says he was driven to "an act of
desperation" over the weekend.
"I went and grabbed a tarp from Home Depot and a can of paint and I
just painted a big banner sign ... and I tied it across my patio and I
wrote on it a big message to my neighbours," the Richmond Hill, Ont.,
man told As It Happens host Carol Off.
It reads: "Be a good neighbour. Please stop spitting and tossing your
butts. Our condo fees will go up because of you!."
says he won't stop kicking up a fuss until his neighbours respect his
property. (Wayne Russell)
Russell and his wife moved into the brand new Sky City
Condominiums building north of Toronto a year and a half ago and he
says the problem started almost right away.
"If I kept every cigarette butt that landed on my patio, I could fill
up a garbage can. It's just ridiculous," he said. "The spitting has
always been along the same time at the same rate. It's just disgusting.
We can't use our patio."
He said they bought patio furniture, but had to bring it inside after
it got burned up from the butts. When his wife confronted some young
men a few floors up one day, Russell says they spat at her.
He's complained to the condo authorities multiple times — and so has
his neighbour — all to no avail. He says he even caught some of the
butt-tossers on video once, but the condo was toothless to do anything
but send them a letter asking them to stop.
"I don't know, they're not creative thinkers or whatever," Russell said.
Reached for comment by As It Happens, Sky City Property Management said
they will be issuing a statement on Tuesday.
Wayne Russell says his patio is constantly littered with cigarette
butts. (Wayne Russell)
Sky City removed the sign on Monday
Russell said Sky City removed the sign on Monday, citing concerns it
could damage the patio's steel beams, making Russell feel like he's
"been victimized twice."
"They said, 'Well, we're concerned that your sign might do damage to
the rails it's tied off on," Russell said. "I laughed. I said,' How can
you say that to me with a straight face?'"
asked him to stop filming the building
Condo security has also asked him to stop filming the building, citing
But Russell says he has no intentions of backing down.
"I not only want to publicly shame them, I just want to get the
awareness out there to get some help done. You know, we've been
fighting this alone, and since yesterday I found out half a dozen other
people in our building are suffering the same kind of fate. And now
we've got a voice that's a lot louder than it was 48 hours ago," he
"I'm willing to do whatever it takes. If I have to monitor the building
24 hours a day with my own personal video equipment, I will."
Sky City Condominiums issued a statement on Tuesday saying it "has not
only taken the matter seriously but is equally frustrated with the
remarkably unacceptable behaviour of the offending residents."
The company said it is working with city bylaw officials and
distributing letters to residents. If offenders are identified, the
condo says it will charge suite owners for any damages.
Sounds very weak to me. Going to
distribute letters? No mention of going to court to apply for court