With not all Prince Albert residents clearing their walks, Coun. Martin Ring suggested that negative reinforcement might be the way to go.
“I know the City of Saskatoon has a bylaw in place that people can be fined if you’re not removing the snow,” Ring said during Monday’s city council meeting.
Prince Albert residents are responsible for their stretch of sidewalk, but are under voluntary compliance for clearing snow for pedestrians, within 48 hours of snowfall.
“It is brutal in some areas of the city right now for residents to get out on some of those sidewalks and such,” Ring said.
“I’ve been out in some of those areas, and it is unbelievable how dangerous it is on sidewalks, in front of people’s houses, sidewalks leading up to people’s houses.”
This issue has been addressed in the past, Ring said, adding that he recognizes that the discussion will open up a can of worms for council and administration to consider.
One argument he anticipates is that city snowplows tend to push snow onto sidewalks.
“Who’s responsible for removing that off the sidewalks?” Ring asked. “So, it does cause some issues.
Ring motioned for administration to provide council with a report highlighting the implications of a bylaw that forces compliance, the specifics of which have yet to be hashed out, utilizing existing bylaws in place in surrounding municipalities.
After seconding the motion, which later passed unanimously, Coun. Lee Atkinson noted that the city’s downtown core has a snow removal bylaw similar to the one proposed by Ring.
It is unbelievable how dangerous it is on sidewalks, in front of people’s houses, sidewalks leading up to people’s houses. - Coun. Martin Ring
“I do walk downtown quite frequently, and it seems like a number of parking lots or buildings that are not currently occupied feel they do not have to remove any of the snow,” Atkinson said.
Before the city looks to branch further afield, Atkinson suggested administration investigate the bylaw already in place, and whether it’s proven successful.
Mayor Greg Dionne closed the conversation with an anecdote about a trip to Regina he recently took, when he noticed a team of six tow trucks accompanying four snowplows.
“They were putting them on side streets, but bylaw was standing there, and they received a $150 ticket for the cost of moving the vehicle,” Dionne said.
“We have designated snow routes, and it’s important that we get them cleared, because that’s where our kids come in our school buses.”
Prince Albert puts parking bans on priority one emergency routes after major snowfalls, though they’ve only placed one ban since the policy was adopted in 2007.
Last year, the city awarded the inaugural Golden Shovel Award to Lorne Adams for his efforts clearing other people’s sidewalks of snow during the winter.
The nomination process for this year’s award will remain open through to March 15, with more information on the award available online, at www.citypa.ca. Last winter saw 34 residents nominated.