Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Calgarians have it up to here with snow

Calgarians have a love / hate relationship with City Hall with regards to snow removal. When I came to Calgary in 1994, I was surprised to learn that road crews do not clear snow from residential side streets, only major roads, those served by buses and those that would be impassable if they were not cleared. This saves the city (and taxpayers) a lot of money. Ordinarily, passing the side streets by isn't a problem, as Calgary is known for enjoying warm chinook breezes every few weeks during winter that often melts most of the snow on the streets, again, saving the city a ton of money. Not only does the city not clear side streets, but it insists (by law) that Calgarians clear the sidewalk in front of their homes (the city takes care of public sidewalks and bike paths). So it's typical to see clear sidewalks bordering streets filled with several feet of snow.

Lately however, our winters have seen fewer chinooks and it seems, more snow than usual. This has made it difficult to get around in some neighbourhoods. This coupled with the fact that road crews haven't been able to keep up with some of the storms we've experienced in the last month or so, and residents are getting angry. At one point, the city asked that residents stop calling to complain about the roads.

One resident offered to help out, being the owner / operator of some heavy equipment. He told the city that he could clear out his cul-de-sac, but the city told him he couldn't get a permit to do so due to safety and liability issues.

I'm curious to see if the future trend in Calgary is to experience more big snow storms, will residents finally demand that the city begin clearing all streets, even if it means an increase in taxes.

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