Many Canadian cities plough their sidewalks as well as their roads; why not Kitchener? Maclean’s (March 21, 2011, “From the editors”), makes a very good case for all cities to plough their sidewalks. Clear sidewalks should be a basic municipal service like drinkable water and street lights that work. As Maclean’s says, “No Canadian city would ever expect residents to keep the roads in front of their houses clear of snow and ice for the benefit of cars and buses.” If Kitchener is ever to become a pedestrian-friendly city it will have to make ploughing city sidewalks as high a priority as ploughing city roads; pedestrians needs must be at least as high a priority than the needs of cars and buses. Maclean’s points out that “many …Canadian cities, including Winnipeg, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City, Fredericton and the majority of Metro Toronto, manage to keep sidewalks clear as part of their routine duties.” The editors go on to point out that “Winnipeg, for example, manages to keep its sidewalks free from snow and ice for $2 million a year, or less than $7 per household.”
In Your Kitchener, the city announced that on Jan. 1, 2011, the City of Kitchener transferred stormwater management funding from the property taxes to a user-fee program. On the opposite page the city has a list of why stormwater management is important. Snow and ice can cause many of the same problems – especially risk to public safety and property damage. Snow and ice are storm water in a frozen form. It seems to me that the new stormwater user fee would be far more palatable if it included an additional amount for sidewalk snow and ice removal. Winnipeg’s $7 per household is a reasonable amount and, as Maclean’s states, a “great bargain of municipal governance.”
I completely agree with the statement that “In the interest of fairness and common sense, next winter all Canadians should demand their cities provide snow-free sidewalls. Exhausted shovellers unite.” Particularly citizens of Kitchener: now is the time to start lobbying city council to include sidewalk snow and ice removal in Kitchener’s Stormwater Management Program.