Last week City Council debated the winter sidewalk snow clearing maintenance options presented by staff. It was suggested that a pilot project be tried in a cluster area of 1,500 homes with the City clearing the sidewalks at a cost of $758,700. Initially councillors accepted staff’s suggestion, however, after further review Council opted instead to increase enforcement proactively by hiring four temporary officers for $177,000.
We received numerous replies from residents both equally for and against spending $0.75 Million on this trial pilot. Many thought it was good and just a many stated it was a waste of taxpayers’ money.
The pilot project would only cover a very small area of the city and the balance of the homeowners would still be responsible for clearing their sidewalk. This clearly appeared to not be fair spending money where a very large portion of the city will not get the same service.
It is evident that more than 90% of the homeowners already shovel their sidewalks immediately. Those that don’t receive a warning and are required to clear their sidewalk asap but only upon complaint. If there’s no complaint, then it remains not shoveled.
When complaints were filed, 95% of those homeowners cleared their sidewalk afterwards.
By taking a proactive approach, councillors felt that all sidewalks will be cleared quickly as no one will want to receive a fine and then be sent a bill of $250+ for the City clearing it for them each time.
I supported this strong proactive action as I feel it will result in all sidewalks cleared within 48 hours regardless of the amount of snow at a better price.
The City will also partner with The Working Centre to have them provide workers to clear sidewalks for seniors and those with disabilities.