COLUMN: Perry Bergson — Nov. 19, 2012

Perry
Perry Bergson
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I was at a meeting for a board I serve on last week when the topic of shovelling sidewalks came up.

I was a little surprised at how passionate a discussion it sparked.

At a council meeting last week, Coun. Martin Ring broached the topic of a bylaw that would enforce the need for people to shovel the public sidewalks on their property.

Prince Albert residents are currently 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 at the meeting.

“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.”

A fascinating part of this discussion is the fact that many seniors object to being forced to do this because less mobile ones have to pay for it. Of course seniors can be subject to slips, which would be part of the reason the idea was put forward from the start.

There has to be a solution to this.

I like Martin a lot but I don’t shovel my sidewalk for him or Mayor Greg Dionne. I do it because I want my neighbours and visitors to my little part of the world to be able to walk safely past my house.

I’m sure it’s a sentiment that Martin would whole-heartedly agree with.

There are only two solutions to snow-covered sidewalks.

No. 1: The city does it or pays a private contractor to do it.

No. 2: The homeowner does it.

As a taxpayer, the first option doesn’t appeal to me at all because it would clearly be expensive. And the city is busy enough keeping up with roads.

That leaves it in the hands of the citizens.

We can have the philosophical argument about forcing private citizens to take on the job of maintaining what’s technically city property.

But I would argue that the libertarian view of the situation -- that government shouldn’t be leaning on the little guy or gal -- gets lost in the inherent risk that an icy sidewalk poses.

If shovelling my walk is the price that I pay to make my neighbourhood a little safer, it’s time well spent.

 

• • •

 

The Daily Herald and the Kinsmen Club are now accepting nominations for the Citizen Of The Year. I’m lucky to be a member of the selection committee.

I had the good fortune to get to know former police chief Dale McFee a little bit before he left to take his new job in Regina.

We can only hope we do as good a job this year as the committee did last year.

The Daily Herald will be accepting nominations until noon on Wednesday, Dec. 12. You can mail them to 30 10th St. E S6V 0Y5 Attention John Morash. If you choose to email them, send them to editorial@paherald.sk.ca

 

• • •

 

The first of the Community pages ran in last Wednesday’s Daily Herald.

It’s an experiment I’m trying where the photos that readers send in will run periodically in the paper on their own page. So whether it’s a sporting event, a school concert or the unusual photograph that you took, send them to the Daily Herald at editorial@paherald.sk.ca with the title PHOTO PAGE on it. Please include details about who, when, where and what.

And also remember that we need good images. If it’s hard to see faces or tell what’s going on at your end, imagine how it would look after it went through a couple of photo programs and then was printed on newsprint.

 

• • •

 

While a little mixup took some of the wind out our sails last Friday, we’re excited about something you’ll be seeing for at least the next 10 or 12 weeks.

A full page will be set aside every Friday for a large photo and profile of two members of the Prince Albert Raiders.

I’ve always been a huge fan of WHL hockey. In fact I would rather watch it than the NHL.

So I’m enjoying my chance to get to know some of the young men who play here. I’ve done brief interviews with 10 players and they are an engaging group.

One of the questions that I ask them involves which three people they would go for supper with if they could choose anyone dead or alive. In my opinion, Riley Guenther has picked the most fascinating group so far.

And while last Friday’s page didn’t run by mistake, keep an eye on future Friday editions to see who he picked.

Who would I pick?

It changes every time I think about it. But as I type this, Meryl Streep (my favourite actor), John Hiatt (my favourite musician) and John Steinbeck (one of my three favourite writers) would be joining me.

If you feel like sharing your list, email it to me at perry.bergson@paherald.sk.ca and I'll run them in a future column.

Organizations: Prince Albert, Daily Herald, Kinsmen Club Citizen Of The Year NHL

Geographic location: Regina

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