Complaints mount over snow-covered sidewalks in Halifax
It’s the end of a long week of stormy weather and patience is beginning to run thin in the Halifax area where many sidewalks remain snow-covered.
Some residents are blaming the Halifax Regional Municipality’s decision to take over sidewalk clearing for the messy pathways.
“We need all of you to call up City Hall and say this is not acceptable,” says wheelchair user Daniel Towsey.
Towsey and two other protesters blocked traffic with their wheelchairs on Spring Garden Road Friday to make their point.
“I spend five to six months of the year imprisoned in my home and I’m lucky if I can go out once a month, that’s how bad these sidewalks are,” says Towsey.
A fleet of Bobcats is trying to improve the situation on Halifax’s peninsula. Until this winter, home and business owners were responsible for clearing their own section of sidewalk.
HRM Coun. Waye Mason says an overwhelming majority of his constituents now want council to reverse its snow-clearing policy.
“Many hands make light work,” says Mason. “If you had 40,000 to 50,000 people out there with shovels and snowblowers, ideally, that should and would go faster.”
Mason says damage from Bobcats is another issue; crews have a lot of territory to cover but little time in which to do it, and sometimes mistakes happen.
Chris Sutton, who owns a home on Vernon Street, says a Bobcat damaged his front step Thursday.
“And then this morning the same thing happens again! It’s a different driver but the same plow,” says Sutton.
“If they can’t get to it, they should just leave it and let the person shovel it themselves. It just makes common sense.”
Debby Rice says a Bobcat took out half her front lawn while clearing snow. She feels the right equipment and proper training would cut down on damage.
“But in fairness to the guys, they have to have the right equipment to do the right job,” says Rice.
“I do think some of the guys need some training. It’s like they’re on horses there and they are riding up and down the streets.”
Contractors responsible for snow removal have only 36 hours from the end of a storm to clear sidewalks. After that, they face fines for each sidewalk that remains snow-covered.
“We do get fined for the areas that are not completed,” says contractor Derek Hale.
As for damage caused by snow removal crews, Hale says contractors, not the city, are responsible.
He says he has a full-time carpenter on staff to fix the damage, rather than putting it through insurance.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Jayson Baxter