Hedges growing across sidewalks is a huge pet-peeve of mine. Sure, you can walk around, but when it is raining the grass gets muddy from being trampled, and can you imagine the irritation for those in wheelchairs. So what do you do? You call the city of course.
When you call the city, they will order the owner of the adjoining property to trim the hedge or they will order it done at the owners expense. (I don’t have any numbers on often this happens). This is not a proper fix as the owner will cut back the hedge often not all the way. The hedge is alive so it grows back to block the sidewalk.
As a gardener, I know that many of these hedges were planted too close to the sidewalk. If they were cut back properly, you would be left with mostly the “old wood” and not much greenery so the bylaw is not a very effective ensuring a long-term solution.
I don’t want the city to turn into the “garden police”; however, there is too much deference to the property owners by the current system. The enforcement should be balanced. Information should be provided to the owners on the first offence that indicates the proper maintenance of their hedges. On subsequent offences, the city should fine the owners and clear the “obstruction” or “encroachment” of city property. If the hedges blocked the traffic or parking the city would just cut them and cite safety. How is this different?