Editorial: We’d like to see clotheslines allowed for all

We’d like to see everyone have a clothesline rather than the other way around.

People who want to have clotheslines should be allowed to have them, and we think that stratas should not be allowed to create rules against them.

In a recent edition of our sister paper the Cowichan Valley Citizen we brought readers the story of a Mill Bay woman who would like to be able to put up a clothesline, but is prevented from doing so by the bylaws of her strata. We published her letter to the editor on the subject in the May 15 edition of the Gazette. Many other people face similar restrictions. In investigating this piece we discovered that the Cowichan Valley Regional District, could, theoretically, regulate clotheslines. While it seems they have no interest in doing so right now, the very fact that they could at some point ban them if they got enough directors on board is disturbing.

We’d like to see everyone have a clothesline rather than the other way around.

We are facing runaway climate change. Most of us are trying to reduce our energy consumption on a day to day basis. Clotheslines are an excellent and easy way to do so.

When you look at why stratas and other neighbourhoods got into the clothesline banning business it was really all about snobbery, we’d guess. Clotheslines were suddenly deemed unsightly. Hanging one’s clothes (especially, we imagine, underwear, gasp!) in public was gauche. One would only do so if one couldn’t afford a dryer. At the heart of it all nobody wanted to look poor or unfashionable. And in the meantime, they could look better, more upper crust, than other neighbourhoods.

After a while, it just became something that wasn’t done in many new stratas.

In this day and age it’s time to cast off this antiquated and false classism. Going green is the new black, if you will.

Rather than spending big bucks on dryer sheets to make your clothes smell like you hung them outside, you might want to try actually hanging them outside. Rather than adding to your electric bill to run the dryer during the summer, let the sun do the work for you. And let’s face it, hanging your clothes in the sunshine should be a right for all.

In 2008 Ontario brought in regulations that allow clotheslines for almost everyone (there were some restrictions on condominiums of more than one floor). This means that this vital right is not subject to the whims of a regional district or municipality or, yes, strata.

We’d like to see B.C. do the same.

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