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Don't call 911 to complain about where neighbours throw snow: police


Timmins is under a fresh new blanket of snow this week and police are issuing a reminder to the public not to call 911 with complaints about how neighbours are managing their snow clearing.  

Police officials said after every dump of snow, its 911 call centre receives on average about 40 calls and is reminding people the emergency phone number is not a complaint line. 

"That’s for emergencies. Someone dumping snow in your driveway does not meet the threshold of an emergency," said Marc Depatie, the communications coordinator for the Timmins Police Service. 

Depatie said pushing snow onto city-owned sidewalks or streets is against the municipal bylaws, so there is no need to call 911.  

However, he said, putting snow on someone else's property turns into a neighbour dispute and suggests people work together to resolve disagreements they have over snow before involving police. 

"There is no bylaw that prohibits anyone from dumping snow into their neighbour’s yard. This is where it does become a police matter. More often than not ... if someone feels intimidated or threatened or if they don’t have the lawful enjoyment of their property any more, then that can become a police matter and we will react to those situations."

Timmins psychotherapist Jeff Baldock said it would be a good idea to build relations with neighbours and discuss their snow shovelling plans in the off-season. 

"Have conversations, share a gift with them ... to build that relationship, so when communications need to happen, they happen in a more amicable way," Baldock said. 

For whatever reason is standing in the way of resolving a neighbourly dispute over snow, Baldock suggested people find it in their hearts to forgive wrongdoers. 

"If we hold tension towards our neighbour, just in our heart, in our mind and we’re not letting it go, it’s kind of interfering with our mind’s and our brain’s ability to solve problems," he said.  

"Start with, I’m going to let this go, I’m going to forgive my neighbour, this is not the end of the world, we will get through this, and we’ll get through this winter and this snow thing like we do year after year."

Timmins police said it has not had to charge anyone based on complaints from neighbours about snow, but officers have had to investigate incidents of people uttering threats to their neighbours over snow disputes. Top Stories

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