Hamilton struggles with built-up ice on sidewalks, roads

Hamilton is struggling to clear its streets and sidewalks of ice, but help is on the way in the form of a warm weekend

City superintendent encourages residents to keep drains clear of ice ahead of warm weekend weather

Hamilton's streets, sidewalks, parking lots and parks have been coated in ice, sometimes several centimetres thick, amid this week's cold snap, leaving a slippery mess to clean up and making walking difficult in many city neighbourhoods.

City superintendent Bob Paul said crews have been out scraping ice and applying salt all week, focusing on priority roadways like the Lincoln Alexander Parkway. But on Wednesday, Paul was looking forward to a helping hand from the weather. 

"The warmer temperatures we're starting to get are going to help with the activation of the salt," Paul said.

Environment Canada's forecast shows Hamilton's temperature climbing up to highs of 1 C by Friday and an unseasonably warm 10 C on Saturday. The melting ice, coupled with some rain on Saturday, could create more problems on the streets. Paul said crews are working to clear catch basins to reduce flood risk, and encouraged residents to keep their drains clear of ice if possible. 

"It would help us," Paul said.

City officials aren't the only ones struggling with the ice. Kids at Gatestone School, in Stoney Creek, were kept inside during recess and lunch due to icy conditions.

In the downtown core, most busy sidewalks on King St. had been cleared. Some side streets like Hughson, however, still had a thick coating of ice dotted with footprints from where the ice melted than refroze. Walking was also treacherous in front of The Royal Connaught construction site on King, where the sidewalk ice was skating rink-slick.

Jill Forrester picked her way across the ice, walking close to friend Jan Bullock. Forrester, who commutes in to Hamilton, said she's been impressed with the ice clearing.

"I think they're doing the best they can," she said.

"We just went through a terrible ice storm … on top of that we've had this," she added, referring to this week's frigid temperatures.

Bullock agreed, praising the city for keeping roadways clear. But Manuel Cassiano, who also navigated the icy sidewalks on Wednesday, wasn't as impressed.

"They're trying, I know it's hard," he said.

"But at your home, you have to [clear the ice] or they'll fine you. But then you go down to the city and they don't do it."

Cassiano, who lives in central Hamilton, said he's now turning his focus to getting his house ready for this weekend's warm weather. He's worried about basement flooding if all of the ice melts, because "once it starts going, it's going to be a lot."