Moving Day

Moving Day, Queen's University, St. Lawrence College, Kingston, OntarioOver the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a steady increase in the number of Queen’s, RMC and St. Lawrence students wandering around and enjoying our construction riddled downtown.  Not only is the nice weather coaxing these young scholars away from their academic pursuits, but the increased outdoor activity is also the result of classes being over.  Going for a stroll along the waterfront, re-energizing with a coffee or grabbing a late night bite are all great ways to break up the painful task of cramming for that next big exam.  But all good things must come to an end, and as post-secondary students inch closer to the final days of examinations, one thing is for certain: moving day is nearly upon us.

While Kingstonians living in the west and east parts of the city are far removed from this disorganized chaos, the rest of us get to watch the train wreck happen in super slow motion.  Prior to purchasing a house a few years ago, we lived on the fringe of what is considered the Student Village Ghetto.  During that time, I witnessed student-filled moving vehicles stop and unload unwanted garbage and furniture in parking lots and next to privately controlled dumpsters.  Scenes like the one depicted in today’s photo (provided by: WalknBoston) used to be commonplace after all the moving was done.  However, the post-move residue seems to have improved over the last few years.

In my opinion, a lot of credit for the clean up has to go to the City, who finally decided to enforce long standing bylaws governing illegal disposal and terribly unkempt properties.  This put pressure on property owners, landlords and tenants to clean up, or else.  The or else results in a $5,000 fine for illegal dumping, while an untidy lawn could earn property owners a $125 addition to their property bill.

After my recent trip to the Kingston Area Recycling Centre (KARC), I was reminded that regardless of when your weekly collection date falls, you can drop off blue and grey bin recycling items almost any day of the week except for Sunday.  Further, the neighboring Kimco facility is also open to accepting everything from refrigerators to shingles, couches and mattresses.  In the event that you have furniture that’s not quite ready for the landfill, CFRC is also hosting their a Garage Sale this Saturday.  When it comes time to clean out your pantry, fridge or closet, there are a slew of organizations who are more than willing to accept what you no longer need:

  • Canadian Diabetes Association: 613-384-0767
  • Free Clothing Drop-In Centre: 613-549-1348
  • Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy: 613-384-1957
  • Ontario March of Dimes: 613-531-8711
  • Salvation Army Thrift Store: 613-544-4396
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society: 613-546-3333

Last but not least, after you’ve finished moving refrigerators and cinder blocks up and down countless flights of stairs, why not check out the Kingston Road Runner’s Association’s races and fun runs on Saturday and Sunday. Who needs beer and pizza after an entire day of back breaking labour for ungrateful acquaintances when you can lace ’em up and set a new personal best for the 10km.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

5 thoughts on “Moving Day

  • I just read the City link, and it sounds like the onus is on property owners to take care of this problem; but as you point out, this is detritus left by students. Seems bass ackwards, as its the people leaving the stuff behind who are the issue – how exactly is CoK doing that here?

    Reading your blog, you are a new property owner, congrats. Now someone leaves that hideous couch in that picture on your property? Sounds like vandalism actually, and illegal garbage dumping, go ask a cop to be sure:) And to add insult to injury, you as a recent victim of crime, have to handle/dispose of this, at your time, energy, and expense, or Limestone Big Brother will fine you.


    • The onus is on property owners, landlords and renters so that when students pull up stakes a leave a mess the City can still hold someone accountable. Fully agree with you that it's not fair for property owners, but if you don't like it, then perhaps being a landlord isn't for you. On the flip side, it's nice that the bylaws are being enforced and that there is some mechanism to clean up after the chaos is over.

      As for your couch on my lawn scenario, I believe that would fall under the illegal dumping bylaw. However if the perpetrator was not caught in the act, I would likely be responsible. That's definitely not fair, but again, the $5K fine for illegal dumping is meant to deter such activity in the first place.

  • Something to remember when discussing move out is that many students simply do not feel responsible to their landlords because of past treatment, and see the clean up from their mess as a "right of passage" for the incoming students. Many of us are left, by our landlords, a huge mess from the previous tenants when May 1st comes around. This simply perpetuates the problem, as the mess is left to be cleaned year after year. If Landlords took responsibility for their homes during move in and move out, and this problem could be greatly avoided. Considering how much we pay (~500 a month for a 4 bedroom house, not including anything) and the minimal amount of support and repairs we receive, I think its more than fair to ask Landlords to follow the law and clean their properties up come year end.

    • I fully agree. During my numerous relocations as a student, I was both an inheritor of other people's trash as well as a few fine treasures. Generally speaking, I always had good landlords who ensured cleanliness prior to move in day. And that went both ways, as they were present during our move out to ensure we left the place tidy/free of garbage. In the end, it comes down to landlords, and the City gets that. There are far too many out there who are content to sit back, collect their cash and watch their property increase in value. These people put forth zero effort to ensure that the needs of their tenants are being met, and if they get slapped with a fine because of a couch outside of their house, I am sure they are somewhat deserving of it.

  • Frankly I used to love it when the students moved out and were kind enough to leave furniture out by the road. One year I borrowed a friends trunk and drove around the ghetto and other well known student housing areas, managed to get myself and a friend some actually semi nice living room furniture as well as some dining room furniture. Even managed to turn a small profit out of it. While the students may not need the furniture anymore there is always someone willing to pick it up and use it for various reasons. One mans trash might be another mans new living room set.

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