Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ice and Snow

Well, it's -35C this morning so what better time to sit down with a coffee and do a little electronic (web) surfing.

Clicking through my Regular Reading (which can be found on the right hand side of the blog, down near the bottom) I popped in to Leslie Ayer-Jaschke's blog to see if she's resumed posting after the holidays, turns out she has and her first post back is on sidewalk snow removal in Peace River.

Of course with winter comes snow and ice all across the north so the kinds of problems Leslie describes are pretty common. For quite some time in Grande Prairie we've had a bylaw (You'll find the relevant section under Part 4, about mid way down the page) in place requiring residents and businesses to clear any sidewalks that bound their property, or risk facing a $100 fine or the possibility of the city cleaning it and then sending a bill to the property owner. That would only happen in some pretty extreme circumstances but many people aren't aware of it so this year we decided to to a little promotion of the bylaw and the fact that enforcement services is looking for people to comply.

Wouldn't you know it though, just a few weeks after this hit the media I had an email from a resident with a complaint. They live on a fairly major route through the city and they work hard to keep the sidewalk in front of their house clear. The problem is that some of our city trucks are equipped with "belly-blades" so they can also throw snow off the streets as they drive around doing regular loads. Seems like a good idea right? Might as well have every city vehicle that is on the roads working to help clear the streets right?

Well, these guys move faster and have less control of where the snow goes in comparison to a grader. (it just gets sent to the outside of the road) so what happens? They throw snow on to the sidewalk this poor resident just cleared. I've raised the issue with the public works director but isn't it funny how one good idea can sometimes have unintended side effects?

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