Condo owner will do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop neighbours above spitting and tossing cigarettes
CBC Radio
08 May 2017

Wayne Russell hung this sign on his patio at his Toronto condo building. (Wayne Russell)

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!."

Wayne Russell 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 privacy concerns.

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 said.

"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 orders.—CondoMadness

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