New Brunswick

'Watch out for the newspaper': Residents upset over frozen flyers caught in snowblowers

Some New Brunswick residents take huge issue with flyers landing in their driveways — especially ones that get eaten up by their snowblowers after a storm.

People are fed up with having to spend hundreds of dollars on repairs to their snowblowers

A Fredericton resident is warning others after her snowblower ran over a newspaper wrapped in plastic, forcing her to send it in for repairs. (Shane Fowler/CBC)

Some New Brunswick residents take huge issue with flyers landing in their driveways — especially ones that get eaten up by their snowblowers after a storm.

When Judy Day went out to snowblow her driveway after this weekend's major storm, the first thing she did was dig under the snow to look for any Brunswick News flyers that could be run over by her machine.

When she finally did find the flyer, she carefully stored it on top of a nearby snowbank.

"As people go with their snowblowers to clean the heavy snow … there is going to be a bundle of newsprint wrapped in plastic underneath their snow," she said.

Day is warning other residents about the dangers of these flyers and how they can damage machines like snowblowers.

"I think this is ridiculous," she said.

The Fredericton resident said she had an accident last year involving her snowblower and one of the flyers distributed by Brunswick News. 

The snowblower ran over the flyer in her driveway, breaking the machine.

"I went to get it repaired and the snowblower repair person said, 'This is the number one call I get from snowblowers needing repair,'" he said.

"And that is heavy, wet newsprint wrapped in plastic, dropped in their driveway. Snow comes on it, they don't see it."

It's the same old story; it's that frozen newspaper that's inside that plastic wrapper.- Steven Butler, manager of Yard Gear 

Day recently asked to no longer have any more flyers delivered to her home if they're going to be tossed onto her driveway.

Before the major storm hit two nights ago, she picked up another three flyers throughout the neighbourhood and put them in her recycling bin to avoid other snowblowers from getting wrecked.

"I saw them drop another one that evening," she said. "I said, 'Well I've got to remember now where they dropped that because that's another accident waiting to happen.'"

CBC News has asked Brunswick News for comment and is waiting for a response.

The same old story

Steven Butler, manager of Yard Gear, which repairs snowblowers just outside Fredericton, isn't surprised by some of the frustrations residents are having with flyers wrapped in plastic. In fact, he said frozen newspapers causing damage to snowblowers is quite common in the area

"We see that at our front counter almost everyday," he said. "Whenever it snows we have a drove of people that just come in."

He said many customers need repairs, which can cost hundreds of dollars.

"It's the same old story; it's that frozen newspaper that's inside that plastic wrapper," he said.

While most objects would get shredded right through the snowblower, Butler said he thinks the ice and snow gets inside the bag and freezes the newspaper.

"It has enough elasticity or something to cause the snowblower to just jam up instead of shred it and throw it out," he said. "If you're not quick to stop the snowblower, next thing you know you have a shear pin broken … your belt that drives the snowblower, they will burn up, pop off."

The local manager said he has even seen newspapers bend the snowblower's steel augers.

Butler said snowblowers can handle tough ice, snow — but "that little newspaper brings it to a quick stop for some reason."   

"I don't have a solution, I really don't," he said. "She [Day] seems to have the best solution, watch out for the newspaper.'"


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