Comment 20043

By highwater (registered) | Posted March 15, 2008 at 13:27:35

I can assure you mediawatch, that the problem does indeed exist very much in my neighbourhood. I am quite sure that this proposal did not spring fully formed from McHattie's head, but rather was a response to numerous citizen complaints. There is a reason that support for this proposal has been running at 2:1 in favour in Ward 1.

I live in Westdale which is a very walkable neighbourhood 3 seasons out of the year. Families continue to move here for that very reason. But because of the high rate of student rentals in our area, the sidewalks become all but impassable in winter(and yes, cityjoe, unfortunately some of our businesses are repeat offenders as well). Because of the state of our sidewalks, people, especially parents with kids in strollers like me, are forced to walk on the roads, which are already narrow, and made narrower by snowbanks and all the on-street parking. Sleds are no help because the snowbanks at corners are so high, you are still forced onto the road. There is no bussing to speak of at George R. Allan and Dalewood. Hundreds of kids are walking to school everyday in these conditions. It's a miracle no one's been hit. The many seniors in our area who would normally walk out to the coffee shops everyday, are often housebound.

Pious sermons about how everyone 'should' shovel because it's the 'neighbourly' thing to do, don't do me much good when I'm struggling over snowbanks with my kids on the way to school. Enforcement is a non-starter as well. It takes several days to issue a compliance order, and several more to follow up, not to mention the cost of the army of bylaw officers we would need to go after the hundreds of rental properties in our area.

If you live in a ward where there are no sidewalks, or everyone does their civic duty, consider yourself lucky (well, except for the no sidewalks part). Contact your councillor and tell him/her that you would not be interested in a program like this in your ward. But please, walk a mile in our snowshoes before telling those of us who walk the streets in Westdale to rely on enforcement and the good graces of absentee landlords.

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