In what is sure to bring about an avalanche of complaints, the City of Hamilton is asking for residents to provide their input on what they could be doing better in terms of snow clearing in the winter.
In a press release issued Monday (August 10), the City of Hamilton announced that they are launching an online Sidewalk Snow Clearing Survey to help measure and better understand the needs and wishes of residents related to sidewalk snow clearing during the winter months.
As it stands, the City says that it clears 397 km of the approximate 2,445 km of sidewalks across Hamilton including: sidewalks on municipally owned property, along reverse frontage lots, formerly Ward 12 in its entirety, and sidewalks adjacent to school property, owned by either the Public or Private School Board.
The City invites residents to share their feedback on potential service level changes to sidewalk snow removal, particularly related to inclusivity and accessibility.
Last winter, the issue of snow clearing came up several times at City meetings after residents shared their photos of snow-covered sidewalks along high-traffic streets, particularly in front of bus stops and in front of businesses.
In some cases, the unplowed snow made some Hamilton streets impassable for members of the community who rely on mobility devices to get around.
In February 2020, council directed staff to report back on universal sidewalk clearing across the city.
That report was expected to come back in front of councillors this month, but with the pandemic, the timeline was pushed back and now the City is using their new online community engagement tool, Engage Hamilton, to get feedback from the community.
Universal sidewalk clearing would mean the City would be responsible for clearing all sidewalks, an issue that has been in front of City councils dozens of times over decades and has been voted down by various administrations time and again.
Currently, under the City’s snow and ice bylaw, property owners are responsible for clearing the snow and ice within 24 hours after the end of a snow event from their sidewalks adjacent to their property and from roofs that overhang the City sidewalk.
Recommendations and feedback from residents will be presented to City Council; next steps will be determined in fall 2020 and beyond.
The City’s survey can be found here. Residents have until September 11 to fill it out.