Snowclearing a basic service, group tells St. John's council

Protesters gathered at St. John's city hall on Monday evening prior to a council meeting to send a message to the city about its lacklustre snowclearing this winter.

Protesters rally at city hall, public meeting

An exceptionally snowy winter, along with rising costs for resources, have put the pressure on the City of St. John's for snowclearing this year. (CBC)

Protesters gathered at St. John's City Hall on Monday evening prior to a council meeting to send a message to the city about its lacklustre snowclearing this winter.

Several dozen people said they hope their presence will send a message to Mayor Dennis O'Keefe and councillors that people in the city aren't happy with street and sidewalk clearing.

The protesters first gathered in the foyer of city hall, and later moved into the council chambers, where the weekly public meeting was held.

Many of them said the buildup of snow has been more than an inconvenience, and has affected their quality of life.

Seniors and people with mobility issues at the rally said the city has left them snow-bound in their homes since the start of the season.

Mothers at the protest said it has been impossible to get strollers around the city because so few sidewalks are regularly plowed.

Kerry Gamberg-Martin, one of the protesters, said the city presented its plan for snowclearing next year, but that's not good enough.

Kerry Gamberg-Martin says snowclearing and accessible sidewalks is a basic service that should be provided by the city. (CBC)
"It's snowing out right now. I want to know what the plan is for today — there's still people who are house-bound this winter," she said.

"Winter's not over yet, and until that snow stops falling and it's all gone, we still need to be clearing these sidewalks. I want to see bare pavement."

Gamberg-Martin said providing snowclearing is a basic service the city needs to provide for all residents.

"I refuse to accept that that is a sense of entitlement or wishing for convenience - that is basic access."

Earlier in March, the city announced plans for a wide-ranging review of its snowclearing operations to find ways to make their procedures more effective.


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