As you’re certainly aware if you’ve gone anywhere in our neighbourhood on foot this winter, many residents fail to clear snow from their sidewalks, creating difficult terrain after snowfalls which gradually hardens and turns into dangerously icy terrain in the days that follow.
On several occasions I have nearly fallen, and I’ve witnessed numerous others who have difficulty traveling on foot, particularly the elderly and people with strollers.
It seems that most disabled people have to give up on non-vehicular travel entirely in the winter months, which isn’t just unfair, it also raises important human rights concerns.
Brian McHattie has proposed a solution to this problem and he needs your feedback on it. Please read what he has to say:
Ward 1 Sidewalk Snow Removal – User Pay Strategy
As we continue to experience higher than normal snow accumulations in Hamilton this winter, Ward 1 residents are facing increasing challenges in walking around our neighbourhoods due to the significant number of properties that do not clear their sidewalks. While this is exacerbated in Ainslie-Wood Westdale due to a number of absentee landlords who own student houses, the problem exists across Ward 1 and indeed throughout the city.
Why is this an issue for Ward 1 residents?
Ward 1 residents who are faced with disabilities or who are less mobile senior citizens are often confined to their homes for days at a time, fearing injury or worse if they attempt to walk along uncleared and/or icy sidewalks.
In addition, most Ward 1 residents are aware of the environmental benefits of leaving the car at home and are now making special efforts to walk to more destinations, thereby cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. A guarantee of cleared sidewalks may persuade more folks to walk.
Although the City continues to enforce our sidewalk snow removal bylaw (for example, 240 orders to comply issued in Westdale on February 16 alone), mobility for residents will continue to be a problem.
A User Pay Strategy Ensuring Clear Sidewalks
I have been working with City staff to develop a program whereby a contracted service would be awarded (through a tender process) a contract to clear Ward 1 sidewalks with the cost being added to the property owner’s tax bill. Contracting out this service was suggested by staff as it would appear that City forces don’t have the resources to take on such a task.
The estimated costs for a standard 50 foot lot based on a 5 year contract are as follows:
Year 1: $28 – 31 per household
Year 2-5: $19 – 22 per household
The cost is higher in the first year due to the need for the contracted company to purchase “trackless sidewalk plough units” as required by the City.
The snow clearing service would be activated when a minimum of 5 cm/2 inches of snow falls. The property owner would still need to clear their property for snowfalls of less than 50 cm/2 inches. Note also that driveways and driveway ramps would not be cleared.
I now need your feedback on this proposal before it goes any further. If there is a general consensus that this makes sense for Ward 1, then I will take a proposal to City Council for approval in order to send out a request for proposal (RFP) to determine whether there is any interest on the part of snow removal companies in undertaking this work.
In order to get a contract in place for the 2008-2009 snow season, I would need to go to Council in May, 2008.
I look forward to your feedback as we work together to improve the quality of life in Ward 1!
Please provide your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-546-2416.
In the last couple of years, I’ve become more educated about what’s supposed to go in the garbage, and what isn’t. It always felt weird when I had some heavy chunks of metal that I needed to get rid of and I tossed them in the garbage, because it seemed like they ought to be recycled – but they weren’t acceptable for the recycling bin.
I know other people have this confusion too, because I sometimes see metal objects in recycling bins that are not appropriate for blue box recycling. A couple of weeks ago I saw a couple of heavy frying pans in someone’s recycling bin. Good intentions, bad execution.
Metal objects are actually supposed to go into scrap metal recycling. Set aside your metal items, and when you have 23 kg/50 lbs worth, you can call the city at 905 546-CITY to get them picked up. Read more about this program here.
The same goes for hazardous waste, such as batteries. I keep a large jar in the back room of my home where I deposit batteries. When I have a full jar, I’ll either call the city to get them picked up, or I’ll drop them off at the dump (with all of my scrap metal as well!)
Now, the city has announced a program where drop-offs of hazardous waste will get you a free digital thermometer. Details from the office of Brian McHattie:
Get a digital thermometer FREE with every household hazardous waste drop-off
ONE PER HOUSEHOLD
FEBRUARY 9, 2008 8AM – 6PM (WHILE SUPPLIES LAST)
DUNDAS Community Recycling Centre – 27 Olympic Drive near King Street
KENORA Community Recycling Centre – 460 Kenora Avenue
MOUNTAIN CRC – 37 Kilbride Road near Upper Ottawa Street
WHAT TO BRING…
Propane tanks (BBQ 20 lbs / Camping 1 lb)
Paint thinner / Solvents
Dry cells / rechargeable and alkaline batteries
For a complete list go here.
Don’t let these materials get into our landfills and poison our earth and water!