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City, Media, Science

You can't do that...

Posted by Hannah / April 4, 2006

clothespin.jpgWhen I was a younger, I knew a girl who had grown up in a suburb of St. Catherine's (Ontario). Whenever we drove to her home we would pass a large house on the edge of a subdivision, carved into more or less the same cookie-cutter shape as the rest of them. Except that this house was a bit of a rebel. Its location captured the attention of passers-by, but mostly it was the door that caught your eye. It was pink, of a hue only a 1980s Cyndie Lauper would have worn. The hottest of hot pinks. So hot, a sweat shirt of that colour would have made you the coolest kid in music camp in 1985. Anyway, the local legend was that the owner disagreed with the subdivision's regulations, which required home owners to paint their front doors one of a handful of respetable, subdued colours.

Now, in the subdivisions of Guelph, homeowners are fighting oppression by drying clothes in their yards. On lines. Yes, that's right.

For some unfortunate residents in newer subdivisions, harnessing the warm air and that fresh outdoor smell to dry clothes is a banned practice.

An editorial in today's Guelph Mercury tells of these subdivision dweller's plight. Homeowners must sign an agreement that prevents them from airing their laundry in the name of esthetics.

In Westminster Woods, residents are allowed to have clothes umbrellas, but not clotheslines. But in the adjacent Pine Ridge subdivision developed by Thomasfield Homes, purchasers must sign an agreement prohibiting them from having wash lines -- it's unclear, however, if that includes laundry umbrellas. The agreement also bans basketball backboards, backyard sheds, large satellite dishes and above-ground pools.

(This is the science bit.) The average U.S. household uses between 700 and 800 kWh of electricity per year sending their clothes tumbling through the heat--a bit more than the electric stove, but less than your fridge--at a cost of about $50.

Aside from the obvious non-environmentally friendly practice, aren't clotheslines what make a neighbourhood fun? How sad would it be if the Plateau or Mile End or the Village banned clotheslines? You can see if its green day over at 4536, or check out the row of t-shirts strung out on the line according to size. Or maybe check out the bad briefs your favourite music star sports? And can't we all agree that clothes umbrellas are more of an eyesore than lines?



J Mac / April 4, 2006 at 03:19 pm
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banana / April 5, 2006 at 10:00 am
Hmm. This appears to be more of a problem than I realized. A grassroots organization dedicated to freedom of clotheslining? Why doesn't everyone have the right to dry?
kittycatcat / April 5, 2006 at 10:47 am
Growing up in Bedroom-Community-of-Halifax, Nova Scotia, all the new housing developments in our town were introducing "no clothesline" legislation. My mother was OUTRAGED! How was she to judge a neighbour's character if she could not see whether they hung up their shirts by the shoulders, or by the tails? Conversely, such lunacy saved me from ever having to live in a subdivision. A childhood spent without running smack into a frozen bedsheet mid-january? Unthinkable.
Dan / April 6, 2006 at 03:02 pm
I always thought clotheslines were banned in Outremont. Maybe that's apocryphal. I don't have the time to look through the bylaws -- seriously, have you ever looked through a suburban municipality's bylaws? Page after page of crazee shit. If I recall correctly, all outdoor cats in Dollard technically have to be on leashes.<p>
Outremont also bans locking your bike to anything in the borough other than the five bike racks they have thoughtfully provided. Dicks. Our stairway and fence are hella biked-up regardless. <i>Fuck 'em.</i>

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