Halifax council’s decision to hire private contractors to clear sidewalks on the peninsula this winter resulted in a huge jump in complaints about property damage this spring.

Residents have been calling the city to report damage to grass along sidewalks.

Gordon Hayward, the city’s winter works superintendent, said they've had over 4,000 calls about snow damage. 

“Most of it’s sidewalk snow plowing/clearing. That's up 50 to 75 per cent more than we would receive in other years,” he said.

This past winter was the first time HRM contracted out snow plowing of sidewalks on the Halifax peninsula. While many were happy with the service, it also resulted in complaints about damage to driveways, steps and lawns.

“It was a learning curve for several contractors this year; the first year always is. In areas where we have experienced contractors in, we've had very little problem for the most part,” said Hayward.

HRM crews repair damage caused by HRM staff, but calls about damage by private contractors are passed on to them to make their own repairs.

Hayward said they'll be meeting with the contractors next week to review the state of repairs.

He said the city has held back some of their pay to ensure repair work is done correctly.

Hayward`s department is also preparing a report for council expected to be discussed in late June.

He has not said what it will recommend but he says there are three years remaining in the contracts with private companies. 


Sidewalk cleaners damaged lawns on many Halifax streets. (CBC)