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Cigarette butts and balconies/terraces

ElDee

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So I'm eventually moving into a unit with a terrace. While I've fully accepted that cigarette butts will be a fact of life, I wonder if there is anything that could be done by oneself to mitigate this annoyance and danger.

I could live with having to sweep up the crap every day, but what I'm afraid of is possibly having a lit cigarette or beer bottle land on my head while I'm just enjoying myself.

Patio umbrellas do a decent enough job for general protection, but they're no good in bad weather. I was thinking of a more solid solution.

This led me to thinking about the possibility of erecting a wooden awning likes this one: http://www.fourseasonssunrooms.com/photos/Gallery/fullsize_per/wood_pergolas_06.jpg

Not that big of course, maybe half that size. Perhaps with an aluminum roof. I mean, the aluminum would make it butt ugly, and ruin the look of the building, but this is just an idea. I wouldn't cover the whole terrace because that would defeat the purpose of getting it. Just a small area to hide under from the falling sky. :)

Has anyone had experience with building something like this onto a condo terrace? Is it even possible? Were there challenges such as getting it approved by the condo board, neighbours, securing it to the concrete, building code issues, etc?

In general, any thoughts on the butt and general garbage throwing problem?

Anecdotally, a friend of mine had someone jump from a higher floor landing on his terrace a few years ago. Luckily he wasn't there, but still, come on now!
 

Skeezix

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There was a brief discussion not too long ago (late November) in the L Tower thread about cigarette butts being tossed off balconies by jackasses. Apparently the roof of the Sony Centre is already covered in butts tossed by some residents of the L Tower.

The consensus of those who live/had lived in condos seemed to be that there is very little one can do to stop the practice - some contributors to the discussions had served on their respective condo boards, and told of efforts to minimize or halt the practice, and how such efforts usually came up short. Because if one is a big enough jackass to toss his/her butt of his/her balcony in the first place, one if likely a big enough jackass not to care about what one's neighbours think.

I, never having lived in a condo with balconies and never having really appreciated this problem until I saw this discussion in the L Tower thread, was appalled that people could lack such social graces and civic concern, and thought the full force of the law should be applied against such jackasses. I would have preferred tarring and feathering, but would have been satisfied with the Sony Centre or the condo board going after these jackasses with pitchforks. PinkLucy was more practical than I was and explained that I was being unrealistic:

I don't think that would fly.
 

Ex-Montreal Girl

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I am pretty sure that erecting any sort of "structure" on your balcony would be forbidden and that you would be forced to dismantle it at your own cost.

We have the occasional butt problem but we find that, 99% of the time, it's a contractor in to do some reno or repair work or it's a guest at a party.

We have worked very hard to educate people in the building on this matter with scary balcony fire stories in our newsletter. It seems to have worked. But people need to ride herd on their workers and guests ... and keep a good dedicated cigarette butt bucket on their balcony. A planter with potentially dry leaves moss won't do. It can burn.
 

James

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I simply can't stand receiving those letters and notices reminding residents to not throw cigarette butts off their balconies and all the reasons why. It's the fact that this even needs to be done at all is what irks me. *shakes head*
 

junior43

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OMG, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, considering what pigs people are at ground level, but I never considered this when I bought a condo. Glad I'm near the top, so there's less chance of this.
 

ElDee

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Thanks for the input everyone.

I agree that putting up a large structure like a pergola or awning would probably put me into the bad-neighbour/tenant category which I prefer not to be in.

Humorously, another zany idea that I was thinking about was putting together a camera or motion tracking sensor attached to a high speed, pivoting turbine-style fan along with the necessary electronics. It would be like a sentry turret that blows at any butts coming down - if it can be detected that is. It would redirect the butt off to the side and onto the street below. That doesn't necessarily solve the problem, and would make it worse for people below me though.

As exMTL-girl suggests, I guess I'm just going to have to be a hardass on management/the board to keep on top of the issue.
 

uto123

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This is one of the reasons why I would not want to have a terrace (unless the terrace was on a higher floor, near the top).

I'm not a condo owner yet, but I'm assuming most of the people that are throwing stuff over balconies or causing damage to properties are renters.
I was looking at a condo last week and there was a big scratch across one of the elevator doors. It was also deep enough for the metal underneath to show through -- I don't think an owner would intentionally damage the property like this.

I also see the notices posted in the elevators for my building once in awhile about cigarette butts, garbage, etc. being thrown over balconies. I always question how effective these notices are and if the people the letter is targeting even care.
 

to_l

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My condo has had this problem for as long as I can remember and someone's patio furniture even caught on fire once from discarded butts. They've been notices and emails and they even provided everyone with an ashtray but to no avail. As mentioned, people who actually care aren't the one who are causing the problem, the people who cause the problems don't care enough to do anything about it or they wouldn't toss their garbage over the veranda in the first place.
 

rbt

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My condo has had this problem for as long as I can remember and someone's patio furniture even caught on fire once from discarded butts. They've been notices and emails and they even provided everyone with an ashtray but to no avail. As mentioned, people who actually care aren't the one who are causing the problem, the people who cause the problems don't care enough to do anything about it or they wouldn't toss their garbage over the veranda in the first place.
I propose $50/pack cigarettes. $40 of that can go to city litter cleanup services. The price can be reduced when random litter inspections no longer turnup any butts on the ground.

I like Singapore's solution to gum littering (beat them then put their nose in it).
 

NorthYorkEd

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Smokers are literally the worst people on earth. Not only are they stupid enough to have started the habit, they treat the entire outdoors as their personal trash can. I'm still stunned by the number of people I see smoking in this city. How does one even start? I mean, if someone was standing on a corner handing out cancer, would you take one?

I can buy the old-schoolers who grew up in a time when it was more socially acceptable and the health effects were lesser known (i.e. ignored and/or suppressed). Simply no excuse for even starting these days.

And each time I see some jackass tossing their butt out the car window or flicking it on the sidewalk, I feel like cramming it down their throat. You don't see most other people throwing their garbage on the ground, at least not when out in public and everyone is looking. But smokers? They don't give a solid ounce of sh*t.

The second-worst people? Those useless scumbags who can't even take their food court tray to the sorting stations after they are finished eating, even when they are walking right past it. That's ok, you piece of human filth, I'll take your garbage for you so someone else can use the table.
 

rbt

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and raise the price of fuels, food packaging etc. accordingly, until all streets, and the air, is clean.
I certainly wouldn't object if the price of disposal for everything was charged directly to the manufacturer/importer and trash taxes mostly disappeared.

I'm not a fan of externalized costs as they encourage bad behaviour (company A might save 10 cents by costing the general public $1; but it's worth it for them). If you believe capitalism in general finds efficiencies then the first step is to ensure that companies absorb all costs related to the product.
 
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