City hall against motherhood and we sexless DINKs agree

Well, there goes the neighbourhood ….

Image of Pamela Howson's house in Ottawa neighbourhood.

The Ottawa media are all in a twist because a woman living a couple of blocks from us has filed a human rights complaint against the city for not allowing her to park on her front lawn.

Yup, you read that right.

And it gets better.

Not only is she seeking to commit such a trailer-trash automotive sin in our grand enclave of New Edinburgh, where a 500-square-foot former garage recently sold for $400,000, but the nub of her complaint seems to be based on another trailer-trash trait:

She and her husband are breeders.

Turns out they recently had a third child desperately required by a planet already being consumed by a mere seven billion viral pests and this brood expansion forced them to buy a bigger car they can’t fit down the driveway to reach their parking space in the back.

Bottom line? She wants to park out front and the city doesn’t like that and so the Nation’s Capital is obviously against motherhood.

A little perspective is required here and I apologize for the inevitable historical and sociological content required to get down to the lowest common denominator in explaining New Edinburgh to the great unwashed not worthy of living here.

Our neighbourhood used to be a separate village, of course, created by the perfect union of anal-retentive immigrants from Scotland and Germany. As you can tell by the name, the Scots ended up on top in this marriage.

Fast-forward to the 1970s and you have another immigrant invasion from two new ethnic groups, consisting of the Yuppies (Young Upwardly-Mobile Professionals) who were all but indistinguishable from the Dinks (Dual Incomes, No Kids). These people snapped up houses cheap from German and Scot widows and invested their dual professional incomes in a veritable orgy of home renovation that severely tested the local supply of cushion flooring, macramé plant hangers, mounted Mucha posters and IKEA record album storage units.

Home prices soared and this attracted the attention of city bean-counters who brought in a thing called Market Value Assessment which increased real estate taxes to the point that no one could afford more than two kids when couples paused from their renos long enough to couple.

So you can see why there is little outpouring of local support for someone lavishly displaying their wealth and disdain for neighbourhood traditions by waving another newborn in our faces. Not only that, but this woman and her husband are newcomers to the enclave where us old Yuppies find it offensive that anyone still of breeding age can afford to buy a house here, unless it’s mine. They got their place just five years ago, while I’m still referred to as “the new guy”, after four decades of residency, by the real Boomer pioneers who drive around in top-down Miata sports cars with their grey ponytails flapping in the breeze.

For my American fans, probably already emailing Rush Limbaugh about the house tax constraints that force Canadians to have an average of only 8/10ths of a kid more than allowed under draconian Chinese laws, I have more shocking revelations.

The car in question isn’t even a proper family vehicle in Alberta and other U.S. jurisdictions. It is a Mazda 5, a four-cylinder device that gets a gazillion miles per gallon, does not carry around unused four-wheel-drive capacity and has no place to store firearms.

But in New Edinburgh, where homes were built in the 1800s to allow a driveway for a horse and cart to get to the stable in back (the same stable that will eventually become another one of those $400,000 garages), a Mazda is a monster almost two inches wider than the Honda Fit the couple had earlier. The Fit fit the driveway, but the newly expanded family litter didn’t fit the Fit.

As you can imagine, anything bigger than a Mazda is considered tacky and therefore banned in our neighbourhood although we do allow SUVs from the nearby U.S. ambassador’s residence free passage as long as they don’t stop in front of any of our homes and cause property values to plummet.

After all, if we start allowing gigantic compact Mazdas to park on front lawns, it won’t be long before we’re invaded by Nissan Sentras and Honda Civics and even (shudder) Kia Fortes filled with toddler seats awaiting more progeny from baby machines who don’t understand our (real estate) values.

We veteran renovators have spent almost two generations working hard to avoid creating future generations, a triumph of family planning that culminated in the closing of our local school years ago so that it could be turned into expensive condos that jacked up the price of our homes even higher.

You would have thought that would be enough to discourage any invasion by the less responsible (what sort of parents move to a neighbourhood with no school, for heaven’s sakes?!)

In the face of this threat, we long-time homeowners are planning to band together to launch our own human rights suit as a visible minority (we’re the “1%” much maligned on those signs carried by all those Occupy people parking on lawns everywhere).

We’re having trouble scheduling our first meeting, however. Everybody’s too busy renovating their garages.

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