Nfld. & Labrador

St. John's woman who broke her leg slipping on icy sidewalk says more should be done

Kelly Bruton slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk almost three years ago. Looking at the sidewalks after a snowy weekend, she is nervous for others.

2019 budget includes extra $150,000 for sidewalk snow removal

Kelly Bruton holds up her traction cleats. After her breaking her leg in three places, she isn't taking any chances. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

As Kelly Bruton drives through St. John's on the way to the hospital, she can't help but cringe at the snow-covered sidewalks she passes along the way.

​Almost three years ago, Bruton slipped and fell on an icy sidewalk in the downtown area. The pins that held her ankle together are coming out today.

"Just like Frankenstein," Bruton said, rubbing her thumb over the metal that is protruding from her ankle bone.

Bruton said although she is feeling better, it's been a hard couple of years. She had to take time off of work to heal. Then she faced anxiety for the next few winters while walking outside.

Bruton, who broke her leg after slipping on the ice, says the City of St. John's needs to do something about its slippery sidewalks. (Submitted by Kelly Bruton)

When she looks at the sidewalks after the city's recent snowfall, she gets nervous for others.

"I've thought about moving away because I am not sure how things are going to go here in the winter times.… I like to be outside, so if you can't walk to get your groceries, what are you going to do?"

Bruton continues to advocate for safer sidewalks on the Facebook page she created, called Winter Sidewalks in St. John's, Newfoundland. She has also altered her daily routine, which includes taking a closer look at the weather and wearing spikes on her boots.

Ian Froude, city councillor for Ward 4, said council has taken the right steps to improve sidewalk clearing. Going into this year's winter season there are snow removal crews working seven days a week instead of five.

Coun. Ian Froude says the city is taking steps to improve sidewalk clearing. (Paula Gale/CBC)

The city's 2019 budget also includes an extra $150,000 for sidewalk snow removal.

"We have been creative within existing resources.… We believe that will make a difference," Froude said.

Froude said there's no policy or bylaw that forces residents to clear the snow in front of their homes because the city would have a hard time proving who the snow belongs to, and the city also does not have the enforcement capability.

St. John's received a walloping of snow over the weekend with more snow predicted in the forecast. (Ted Dillion/CBC)

"It doesn't seem to have gotten much better," said Bruton, standing beside an unshovelled sidewalk.

She isn't pointing fingers at the city, saying it's a "combination of responsibilities."

"I think we all have the personal responsibility to remove the snow from the front of our house … and the city, of course, has to kick in."

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