City of Kitchener
The walks of those who do not comply with the by-law will
not get shovelled for a least a few days after a major snowfall. Home and business owners have 24 hours after
the snowfall ends to clear their sidewalks.
Then someone has to report them, another day or two. Then a by-law
enforcement officer visits and issues a warning, yet another day or two. The walk can go un-shovelled for up to a week
by which time there can be yet another major snow fall and we start over. This
definitely does not help the physically challenged nor Councillor Geoff
Lorentz’s mail person colleagues..
Then there is the problem of what to do with owners
who are in hospital or on vacation during a big snow or ice storm. Do they deserve a whopping big
fine just because they could not make arrangements for someone to shovel while
they are away? You can end up in
hospital for a lengthy stay without any prior warning and a person going on
vacation can often forget this detail.
Good citizens with no signs of a health problem can end
up dead from shovelling snow as was the case in the heart attack death while
shovelling snow during the last big storm of a prominent parishner of my
church. The proposal to have city crews
clear all walks will actually save lives.
I do not like the fine system on principle. Municipalities
are governed by municipal councils NOT ruled by them. The job of municipal
council is to make decisions about municipal financing and services.
Because land owners owe fealty to the Queen, representatives of the state may
order them to maintain the roadway and / or crown land adjacent to their
property but it is not appropriate for city council to make such orders. We elect city council to govern not rule and
they do not represent the monarch as provincial and federal governments do.
I realize that the $3.8 million proposal to have city
crews clear all walks would have added to my tax bill and adding such a cost
would not go over well with voters. I’d
like to suggest that the city come up with a proposal where city blocks or
neighbourhoods could opt to pay for such a service in their tax bill by a local
vote and simple majority. I understand
that admittedly some time ago, this was how sidewalks were originally installed and paid for
in Kitchener and why some streets to this day do not have sidewalks. Neighbourhoods that opt in would be exempt
from the fine. I think this issue is worth a second look for the sake of saving
lives and making Kitchener
more pedestrian friendly.