Opinion: Is this Burnaby’s ‘neighbour from hell’? Pretty much

Chris Campbell

Life would be great if people just accepted a request from their neighbours with grace and humility.

People always talk about how polite Canadians are, but I am finding fewer and fewer examples of this. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we’re seeing so many examples of people getting angry at anyone who is trying to tell them what NOT to do.

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It’s as though the pandemic is some sort of evil plot to squash their personal freedoms and control them.

This is what I’m thinking as I listen to a Burnaby resident tell me about confrontations with his “neighbour from hell” that all started with a simple request.

A couple in the Burquitlam area – their description, not mine because I hate that term – put out some planters on their condo patio.

One day their upstairs neighbour hosed down his patio and all of his cigarette butts ran down to their patio, creating a disgusting mess.

“My 105-pound wife, who is very non-confrontational, courageously knocked on his door while I was at work and asked him to not do this,” this resident told me. “He went into an expletive-ridden tirade while pointing a finger in her face.”

If it was me who lived upstairs, I’d just pick up my butts and throw them out responsibly. I’d also apologize and promise to be better. That doesn’t make me less of a man – it makes me a better adult.

So not only did this “neighbour from hell” refuse to do this and swear at a tiny person, he stepped up the intimidation.

“The next day, I was home alone and I hear a huge 'boom' at our front door. I'm freaked out. I check out our door and there's a divot on our solid wood fire door to our apartment. I immediately recognize it's made by a carpenter's hammer.”

After calling the police and getting no action, this resident bought some webcams with motion-activated software.

“A day or two later, he comes down again, smashes out our peep hole. This time, I'm elated. I've got it on camera. I call the cops again and they send four detectives, they review the video and bang on his door for what seems like an hour until he answers. The video is too blurry to haul him away, but those guys put the fear into that a**hole.”

Since then, the “neighbour from hell” has been quiet, but who knows what could come next.

It’s staggering to think that instead of just accepting the request, this angry dude make things so much worse.

Look, I get it. It’s not always easy to be told you’re annoying your neighbour. There’s a defensive reflex in many of us that kicks in. But hopefully you’ll read this story and remember it the next time your neighbour is unhappy.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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