Kelowna property owners to continue shovelling their own sidewalks, council says

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CITY RECEIVING INCREASING COMPLAINTS AND REQUESTS FOR SERVICE AFTER STORMS

KELOWNA - It didnt’ take city council long to shovel this snow removal proposal to the side.

Kelowna council, given three options by staff, gave barely a glance to the deluxe option, which would have seen the city assume responsibility for clearing all city sidewalks for at least $750,000 a year.

Instead, a majority of council opted for a slightly enhanced service for next year, spending $150,000 to lease additional multi-use machines — they also sweep sidewalks and do rough grass cutting — as a standby for what the city calls extraordinary snow events.

Homeowners and businesses will still be responsible for snow removal on sidewalks adjacent to their property, but the machines will be kept on standby and pressed into service as needed during winter.

Arterial sidewalks and multi-use pathways would be the priorities, as in any storm, public works manager Darryl Astofooroff told council, but the machines would also go into residential areas time permitting.

The prevailing attitude on council was not to let property owners get away from taking care of their own sidewalks, a practice Astofooroff told them was widespread in other Canadian communties.

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 ice and snow.

The city maintains a list of exempted properties and clears them along with 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.

Coun. Luke Stack argued for an “option four” counter to the three presented by staff, where no increase to service would be made.

“I think we’re doing fine now and it works pretty well," Stack says.

Coun. Ryan Donn, a passionate advocate of building new sidewalks in Kelowna, also argued for doing nothing or adding the money to the city’s sidewalk construction program.

“I’d rather have more sidewalks than have them clean for a month," Donn says.

Find past stories on Kelowna snow removal here.


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