An Ottawa Couple is Fighting the City After Being Told They Can’t Have a Garden

Home gardens are a good thing. Violating bylaws, on the other hand, is not.

You can probably guess where this is going.

Shannon Lough and partner Will Needham of Kanata were asked to remove their home garden by the City of Ottawa after someone in the neighbourhood complained about its presence. 

That’s right, someone complained about a garden.

As petty as it is, there is some precedence that puts the garden owners in wrongdoing territory. The couple’s strawberry, kale, tomato, and bell pepper-harbouring vestibule violates Ottawa’s use and care of roads bylaw in the interest of public safety and implications for road maintenance work.

The couple is responding with admittedly irritating entitlement and defiance.

“We’re not moving it,” says Shannon. “My boyfriend served three tours in Afghanistan, so when he deals with this kind of stuff, it enrages him because he’s like, ‘it’s so petty.”

Pretty bold connection.

Shannon says the garden can’t be moved back – two metres as requested by the city – because it would no longer be in the sunlight and because the planter is “nailed in there pretty good.”

If they refuse to move the garden, the city can, and probably will, forcibly do so at the property owner’s expense.

Will, meanwhile, is planning a sit-in on July 30, which is the deadline that the City of Ottawa has given the couple to take action.

We’re counting down the days.