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Kitchener staying clear of full service winter sidewalk cleaning

City council decided instead on a program focused on enforcement, and helping those who cannot clear snow
shovelling snow stock
stock photo

After countless debates over the years, Kitchener city council decided to not have city-run full-service winter sidewalk snow clearing, as COVID-19 has impacted the city's budget.

On Monday, council decided on a two-front program that will focus on enforcement and assisting residents who are unable to clear snow off of sidewalks outside their residence. 

The program will cost $230,000 and will include four part-time seasonal bylaw officers, who will enforce routes with a lot of foot traffic, such as transit stops, schools, businesses, and community centres. 

Not all of council was for this decision.

Ward 9 Councillor Debbie Chapman said she was disappointed, as other cities in Canada clear the snow off their sidewalks. 

"We wouldn't be alone in the world if we were to clear our sidewalks it's done many cities across the country," she told council, "I'm a big believer that nobody should be left behind." 

Over in Ward 10, councillor Sarah Marsh said because COVID-19 has caused major financial impacts, council cannot consider full-service sidewalk clearing.

"It will jeopardize the people who are living on the edge who are property owners, or have a fixed income and are struggling right now, or don't have an income because of COVID-19," Marsh added, "These are things we need to balance first."

Ward 5 Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock agreed.

She mentioned it is just not the right time to have a full-service program.

"The timing is against us right now with COIVD-19," she added, "We cannot take on an expense of this nature at this time." 

The motion passed 10-1, with councillor Chapman the only one opposed.


Tim Herd

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