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Kitchener to spend $750,000 testing sidewalk snow clearing

A more permanent plan would cost the average taxpayer around $40 a year
Snow shovel
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Kitchener will roll out several test projects this winter aimed at developing a long-term plan to deal with clearing snow and ice from sidewalks.  

The city fields scores of complaints every year about snow covered sidewalks.

Kitchener has an estimated 1,200 kilometres of sidewalks.

The city will spend $750,000 on testing how they would roll out several components to collect data in order to come up with an effective solution to the annual problem.

The five components they will focus on include having a proactive bylaw officer, looking at the city clearing the sidewalks only if there are 8 cm of snow, plus real time sensors that will show the city where snow is on the sidewalk.

Neighbourhoods where the testing will be done have not been identified yet, but the plan is to spread them throughout the city.

Ward Five Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock is not comfortable with the price tag.

"No, not at all. My preferred option was us taking the four bylaw officers and doing a proactive year of clearing sidewalks, because we know, our data shows us that when there's complaints and you get that warning letter, people comply between 95 and 98 per cent of the time and we ticket the other ones. I think we would get a better level or service and a more consistent level of service if we did that, plus the grants to help people who can't clear their own snow and that price tag is only $170,000 a year." Galloway-Sealock told The Mike Farwell Show on 570 NEWS.

"But I think the best level of service we can get is from residents. It's likely that, when we're in a full plow operation, the roads are going to be a priority one and then we're only going to get to the sidewalks...The sidewalks may not be cleared for 48 hours, like our mandate is between 24 and 48 hours, so it's not going to be done in 24, it's likely you're going to get it closer to 48 hours." added Galloway-Sealock.

She says if the city went ahead with a permanent plan to clear sidewalks, it would cost the average taxpayer around $40 a year.

with files from Paul McPhee




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Blair Adams

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