More than 60 Chatham residents received a notice from C-K Public Works that if they didn’t remove their outdoor basketball nets from municipal roads and curbs, they would be confiscated.
Chatham resident Carol Reeb said she received an “encroachment notice” on Nov. 6, which said she had seven days to move the basketball net that has been on the grass at the curb in front of their house for 14 years on Alpine Avenue.
“The basketball base is on my grass and the net hangs over the street. We live on a cul-de-sac and for 14 years, it’s never been an issue,” Reeb noted. “I have two grown kids who used it and now my grandkids and the neighbourhood kids use it. This is ridiculous. We want the kids out playing, not inside on their games.”
After a call to Glenn Harding with C-K Public Works, Reeb said she was told there were no complaints about the nets, just a concern that the nets were a safety issue for garbage trucks and snowplows. She was told two drivers went around the municipality noting the locations of nets that were on the curb or the road, and the notices were issued.
Reeb said Harding told her that they were enforcing a municipal bylaw, and explained to her when he was driving a snowplow 10 years ago, his plow snagged on a net and dragged it several feet before he noticed.
In a search of municipal bylaws, no one specific to basketball nets was found, but Chatham Coun. Michael Bondy said he looked into the issue after a call from a resident and was told it had to do with road safety and regulations about impeding municipal rights of way.
Reeb, who said the neighbourhood kids are always playing with the net, has it weighed down with sand and leveled at the curb so it can’t be knocked over in high winds. In speaking with the plow driver and garbage truck drivers in her area over the years, she said they indicated they have no problem with the net’s location.
Harding told Reeb as long as the net is moved back at least two feet, Public Works wouldn’t have an issue with it, but she said the kids can’t dribble the ball on the grass.
The retired grandmother said she understands if the base of the net is on the street when a plow goes by, but with the base in the grass, and with no complaints made to Public Works, she doesn’t see why she needs to move hers.
Bondy said he understands Public Works issuing the order during snow plow season for safety reasons and said people could move the net when the kids are using it and pull it back when they are done, but Reeb said the sand-filled base is very heavy and difficult to move.
“I don’t really like it either, but it’s about safety and regulations,” Bondy noted.
Reeb spoke to Chatham Coun. Amy Finn about the issue, and said she mentioned she wasn’t aware of a bylaw regarding the matter but would be making enquiries. Calls to the mayor’s office by Reeb were not returned as of press time.