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Kelowna considers taking over sidewalk snow removal

Kelowna is considering changes to its sidewalk snow removal program.
April 09, 2016 - 1:00 PM


KELOWNA - Would you be willing to pay more taxes if you never again had to shovel snow off the sidewalk in front of your house?

That’s just one of three options city councillors will consider Monday, April 11, as staff report on the increasing challenges the city faces keeping city sidewalks clear during winter.

Under the current bylaw, property owners are required within 24 hours of the end of a snowfall to clear sidewalks adjacent to their property of all traces of ice and snow.

The city maintains a list of exempted properties and clears them and the sidewalks beside public facilities and property, spending some $150,000 each year to clear 70 kilometres of sidewalks with that status and another 45 kilometres of public multi-use pathways.

However public works manager Darryl Astofooroff reports service requests have jumped from 18 in 2011 to 188 last year and are often complaints about snow removal beside multi-family developments and commercial properties.

He details the three options in a report to council including one which would see the city assume full responsibility for clearing all 420 kilometres of Kelowna’s sidewalks for a minimum of $750,000 a year.

Astofooroff cautions the full-payment option will require the leasing of additional sidewalk plows and could increase liability risks for the city.

Contracting sidewalk clearing to the private sector is the second option but comes with challenges, he says, including sub-standard equipment that might not meet city standards.

The third option, the one favoured by staff, would see the city set aside $150,000 for a one-year pilot program to increase frequency of service on arterial roads and bus routes during extraordinary snow events without making it a permanent city function.

Staff would also embark on an education program aimed at commercial property owners and strata councils who Astofooroff says don’t seem to understand their snow-removal responsibilities under the current bylaw.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
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