In what has been a cold and snowy winter in Calgary, city bylaws are asking residents to keep clearing their sidewalks as the region faces another long stretch of freezing temperatures.
Since Calgary’s first major snowfall in early November, about 5,200 calls have been made to the city’s 311 line for complaints about snow and ice removal on residential sidewalks.
After a complaint call, bylaw officers attend the area and issue warnings to property owners, giving them an additional 24 hours to clear the sidewalk. The next day, in the event of non-compliance, a contractor will be hired to complete the work at the property owner’s expense, with costs ranging from $200 to thousands of dollars.
This year there were 250 cases of a contractor clearing the sidewalk in front of private property. Inspector Bradley Johnson with the city’s community standards division said two of those were fined for consistently failing to clear sidewalks of snow and ice.
“We make sure those sidewalks are cleared and if we keep returning to these properties, that’s when we start looking down the road, if more enforcement action needs to be taken or a ticket needs to be added to that expense. . . We’re just making sure we hold citizens accountable,” he said.
Officers have been busy responding to snow-related calls this year, but Johnson said that’s on par with the demand they normally see as winter approaches.
“(Issuing tickets is) something that increases over the course of months, and I assume we’re going to start seeing a lot more tickets as the winter progresses,” he said.
Ultimately, that’s the responsibility of the property owner, but Johnson said the city’s snow angel program is important to people who need a hand, especially during the holidays.
“It’s pretty big in the city and we hope that citizens take it upon themselves because we all live in communities where there are elderly citizens or people who can’t easily go out and shovel their sidewalks,” he said. “It’s as simple as adopting a sidewalk and keeping it clear, whether it’s your neighbors, or anyone else, that extra bit of effort helps people a lot.”
Calgary enters another deep freeze
Calgary’s weather began its plunge below zero over the weekend and is expected to continue into late next week.
Friday is expected to reach a high of -1C with a 30 per cent chance of early morning storms, becoming heavier in the evening – around two centimeters expected, with an overnight low of -13C.
The snow will continue into Saturday with another two cm expected to fall throughout the day and a high of -13C, but the precipitation is expected to end in the afternoon and reach an evening low of -21C.
Sunday will drop to a high of -20 C, with Monday expected to reach a high of -23 C. Tuesday will reach -24 C with a 30 percent chance of snow. The temperature is expected to drop to -27C overnight with snowfall ending on Wednesday, which will see a high of -21C.