Image: Kristen Douglas

Letter: Kelowna’s sidewalk clearing plan not working

Letter-writer says homeowners are not following the rules and clearing sidwalks

To the editor:

Kelowna City Council should be commended for attempting to encourage people to get around by means other than private cars. Buses, taxis, car-pooling, bikes and walking are the main alternatives.

Unfortunately, the city’s plan falls apart in the winter, especially for walking. Only a small percentage of Kelowna sidewalks are cleared of ice and snow according to the terms of Bylaw #8120. Residents are required to clear their sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall.

Survey almost any of our residential neighbourhoods and you’ll find the majority of sidewalks (and the roads) covered in hazardous ice and snow. Currently, the city’s answer to this anti-social, scofflaw behaviour is to require someone to report a particular sidewalk in an online service request or by phoning 250-469-8600. This is a slow, cumbersome, ineffective waste of everyone’s time.

The city knows it’s getting poor compliance to it’s well-intentioned snow and ice bylaw. If they start to actually enforce it, as I hope, I suggest they adopt a plan similar to the ones used in many other Canadian cities:

After the 24 hour period has elapsed, have contractors circulate through residential areas. If very snowy or icy sidewalks are found, the contractors clear them, then they arrange for the city to add the cost to the homeowner’s next Property Tax bill. Before and after photos could be shot. The benefits of this plan include:

No cost to the city or to law-abiding taxpayers. Increased compliance. Sidewalks that can be safely walked on. Employment opportunities for local seasonal workers.

If you’d like to see the City of Kelowna adopt a policy similar to this, please email your wishes to mayorandcouncil@kelowna.ca

C. Adhofer, Kelowna

To report a typo, email: edit@kelownacapnews.com.


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