Not shovelling sidewalks can get costly in Vernon - InfoNews

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Not shovelling sidewalks can get costly in Vernon

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December 20, 2017 - 5:30 PM

VERNON - As the snow from this week’s blizzard settles, Vernon residents are being reminded they have a job to do.

While the City takes care of clearing roads, property owners are responsible for shovelling sidewalks. If you’re a local, you probably know that already — the city issues reminders about it every year.

What you might not know is that clearing snow is mandatory within 24 hours after the snowfall, and if you don’t do it, the City can technically have it done at your expense.

That’s the message in a public service announcement from the City today, which asks that people “help keep our city streets safe for pedestrians by shovelling snow and removing ice from sidewalks and foot paths bordering your property as per the Good Neighbour Bylaw.”

It’s nothing new, protective services manager Geoff Gaucher says in an interview. But it is rare for it to happen.

“It’s complaint based,” Gaucher says. “If we receive a complaint, bylaw officers will attend and provide you with information about the Good Neighbour bylaw. (Having it cleared at your expense) is after you’ve been served a notice and there is still no compliance.”

He says compliance is generally pretty good and there haven’t been any complaints during this week’s snowstorm. He says there were a couple of complaints during the snowfall event in November, but those were taken care of with notices.

“We don’t expect you to be out there in a blizzard clearing it, but we would like it done in 24 hours,” Gaucher says.

He adds that if people aren’t able to clear their sidewalks due to a mobility issue, bylaw officers try to work with them to find a solution, such as having a family member come and assist them.

Residents are also asked to pile the snow on private property, not the roadway, which can cause issues for plows.

“The more snow there is, the narrower the roads become and the less space we have to plow,” public works manager James Rice says.

He says people have been a big help this year keeping roads clear of snow piles and vehicles.

Rice says another small snowfall event is predicted tonight, but the big concern is cold temperatures.

“With the drop in temperature everything freezes very quickly. People need to keep their speeds down and watch for black ice,” he says. “We are in the process of applying another application of liquid de-icer on our main roads in advance of those temperatures. Our intention is to keep on top of it.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 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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