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London committee looks to change city’s snowplow threshold

Currently, residential streets are plowed when snow reaches 10 centimetres while sidewalks are plowed when snow reaches eight centimetres.
Currently, residential streets are plowed when snow reaches 10 centimetres while sidewalks are plowed when snow reaches eight centimetres. City of London / Twitter

Londoners may see snow-covered roads and sidewalks cleared sooner if a motion backed by the civic works committee makes it through city council.

The committee voted Tuesday to change the thresholds for when roads and sidewalks are plowed in London.

READ MORE: London’s persistent snowfall makes for challenging removal

Under the current threshold, residential streets are plowed when snow reaches 10 centimetres while sidewalks are plowed when snow reaches eight centimetres.

A motion put forth by Ward 2 Coun. Shawn Lewis seeks to have those thresholds changed to eight centimetres for roads and five centimetres for sidewalks.

“We all hear from our constituents that they think that we can do a better job when it comes to snow removal in the winter,” Lewis said.

“I know that we’ve all seen the comments on social media with regards to sidewalks and, particularly, the challenges facing people with mobility issues.”

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Lewis acknowledged the $1.1-million cost that comes with the change, a price tag that committee chair Coun. Phil Squire emphasized during the meeting on Tuesday.

READ MORE: Possible delay for London’s Victoria Bridge replacement as committee votes to explore cheaper options

“I’m really looking forward to the budget process of this council. I’ve enjoyed it in the past as I see councillors try to please the public and say: ‘Look, we’re going to offer you more bells and whistles, don’t worry about the costs,'” Squire said.

“We’re starting to add a lot more… I think we have to be honest with people and say: ‘Look, these things are going to cost serious money.'”

The issue goes to full council next week. If it’s approved, it will be discussed during the next multi-year budget debates this fall and winter.