‘Almost impossible to use’: city councillor calls for better sidewalk snow clearing

A city councillor wants snow plows to do a better job of clearing Winnipeg’s sidewalks next winter.

St. Boniface councillor Matt Allard said the city’s current policy to plow sidewalks to a “compacted snow surface” isn’t good enough.

He said it causes issues in the spring during the thaw/melt cycle.

“There comes a time every year where they’re just almost impossible to use in our weather,” said Allard.

Allard has a motion before the city’s public works committee calling for a “plow to pavement” pilot project during the next winter season.

He wants city officials to select one sidewalk per council ward for the trial.

“We can at least try plowing at least one sidewalk, per street, per ward,” said Allard.

At the end of the trial, council would look at the results and decide on wider implementation across the city, if possible. 

It’s an idea that appeals to Debby McLeod, who has trouble navigating sidewalks in the winter.

“They’re pretty much impassable. Wheelchair tires don’t have much in the way of tread.”

McLeod hopes this pilot project will get the green light from city council.

“I think that would be incredible. That’s taking down a barrier,” she said.

Allard said he has brought up the idea before, but was told by city administrators that many of Winnipeg’s sidewalks are too broken up for that level of clearing.

But Allard said any city streets that have recently been rebuilt will also have new sidewalks.

“The sidewalk’s good to go,” he said.

The motion will be discussed at the next meeting of the Standing Policy Committee on Public Works on Feb. 7.

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