Edmonton doctor wants more done to deal with icy sidewalks

An icy sidewalk in south Edmonton. December 15, 2017. Vinesh Pratap, Global News

A critical care doctor in Edmonton is calling on the city to do more to address icy residential sidewalks.

Dr. Darren Markland – who works at the Royal Alexandra Hospital – said during the winter months hospital staff treat between two to five falls a day.

However, Markland said the hospital’s emergency department is seeing more “unexpected falls” because of the recent freeze-thaw cycle.

“Those people tend to be the young, active people who are out and walking in the first place, but then we see a secondary wave that happens a little later, and those are the unexpected falls, so people have gone out expecting things to be clear and just are surprised,” he said.

READ MORE: Residential blading underway in Edmonton

Markland would like the city to make clearing all public sidewalks a bigger priority, and he believes the money saved by getting people out and active in the winter months would offset the cost of regular maintenance.

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“I’m not saying tax everything. There are other solutions. There’s increasing the amount of public sandboxes, there’s community pride and engagement, people looking after things responsibly,” Markland said.

“Also, you’re going to pay money one way or another, either to employ people to enforce it, but if it’s not happening, I would say within 48 hours, the city cleans the sidewalk and charges the homeowner.”

READ MORE: Edmonton clarifies snow policy: how quickly must sidewalks be cleared?

Edmontonians are responsible to clear their sidewalk and can be fined if they fail to do so. The city has 22 officers to deal with snow and ice complaints.

The city said from Dec. 2 to Dec. 9, they responded to 320 complaints, and between Dec. 9 and Dec.16 that number jumped to more than 1,300.

During the first half of December, nearly 800 warnings and nearly 140 tickets were handed out.

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