Halifax sidewalk clearing under fire from frustrated residents
It was only last winter the city made the change and took over sidewalk clearing across the entire HRM
The city of Halifax is under fire over sidewalks that are still clogged with snow and ice and some residents are suggesting the responsibility of sidewalk clearing should be turned back over to homeowners.
It was only last winter the city made the change and took over sidewalk clearing across the entire HRM. Until then, it was a patchwork of some areas of town getting the municipal service and others not.
Judy Howe is one resident not impressed with the job the city is doing.
"I have to get exercise every day because I had surgery last week on my knee," she said.
Howe says her doctor recommended walking as a way to help her heal, but in her area of Halifax, on Queen Street, it's tough.
"Afraid to walk on the sidewalk, afraid to fall and damage what's already been repaired and or break hips or legs or something else," she said.
When homeowners and businesses were responsible for clearing the snow, Howe says she never experienced problems with sidewalks.
She says even though Halifax is now paying contractors to do the work, the work isn't being done.
Not everyone agrees with Howe.
Janet Merrithew owns Sweet Janes and says the repeated storms are difficult to clean up after. Especially with the Valentine's Day rush, she's more than happy to have someone else dealing with sidewalks.
"As a small business owner it's difficult to keep up on things so you want to keep expenses down when you can do so," she said. "I think it's great that the city is able to help us out."
On the other corner of the street, at Atlantic News, it's a different story where staff have cleaned the sidewalk on both sides of their building.
Owner Michele Gerard said they buy lots of salt
"We just keep at it," she said. "We just regularly, consistently keep shovelling while it's snowing. We want customers to come and be able to come in the door. I want them to come in safely and conveniently so we've been very happy to keep it down to the pavement."
The city says they have had only three slip and fall claims so far this winter.
Changing the sidewalk clearing policy required a vote from council. Changing it back would require the same and there's no indication that will happen.