Salmon Arm council received a pair of letters critical of winter sidewalk conditions at the Jan. 23 council meeting. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm council received a pair of letters critical of winter sidewalk conditions at the Jan. 23 council meeting. (Lachlan Labere-Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm council unlikely to support bylaw requiring public to maintain sidewalks in winter

Residents encouraged to help others who aren’t capable of shovelling heavy snow

A bylaw requiring residents to shovel snow from sidewalks is not on city council’s radar.

This was one of the messages voiced at the Jan. 23 council meeting by Salmon Arm Coun. Sylvia Lindgren in response to a pair of letters critical of winter sidewalk conditions.

One writer, noting she and her husband are in their 70s, said they walked around town on Jan. 11 and were astonished by the “dismal conditions of the sidewalks, both those the city is responsible for and those that border private homes.” The writer said they lived in Edmonton for 25 years and Invermere for 26 and have never seen “such appalling icy situations on walkways.”

“Having come from the north, I can tell you that when it gets cold in Edmonton and Fort McMurray and Grand Prairie, it stays cold and you don’t get this melting, freezing, melting hanging around zero type of thing,” said Lindgren. “It’s easier to clear snow there… you can blow it off with a broom. The kind of snow here is much different and the conditions we have here are much different.”

Both writers speak to a bylaw requiring the public to keep sidewalks in front of homes and businesses clear of snow and ice.

“This would include a fine for homes/businesses that do not meet this requirement,” suggested the second writer, adding there would be a cost if the city is required to maintain a sidewalk.

Lindgren said this was discussed by council recently.

“We have a very large senior population here and shovelling heavy, wet snow at seven o’ clock in the morning is not possible for a lot of people that live here, so chances of us developing a bylaw requiring that are probably pretty slim,” said Lindgren. “But I would encourage people from the community to clear their sidewalks as often as they can, and to help out their neighbours who aren’t able to do that, and that will help move things along with the city so when they do come along, that it’s very quick to clear what’s left.”

Lindgren said she appreciates all the work city staff puts into clearing sidewalks.

“I know they do the best that they can but the weather does not always co-operate,” said Lindgren.

Coun. Kevin Flynn asked that the city respond to both letter writers. He noted money was added in the city’s 2023 budget for weekend clearing of snow from sidewalks.

Mayor Alan Harrison said a response would be sent.

The city has a bylaw that requires snow, ice and rubbish removal from sidewalks, but only within a specified area of the downtown.

Story updated on Jan. 30, 2023

Read more: Residents raise concerns about sidewalk snow removal

Read more: Okanagan woman sues city for sidewalk fall and wins


lachlan@saobserver.net
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