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Snowy sidewalks still the responsibility of Hamilton homeowners this winter

City councillors will not debate taking over sidewalk-clearing responsibilities until Hamilton's 2021 budget deliberations.
City councillors will not debate taking over sidewalk-clearing responsibilities until Hamilton's 2021 budget deliberations. Global News

Hamilton residents will have to shovel sidewalks for at least one more winter.

A debate and decision around having the municipality take over that responsibility has been deferred until 2021 budget deliberations.

Read more: No sidewalk snow-clearing decision in Hamilton as council asks for staff report

Director of transportation operations Edward Soldo stresses that the city wouldn’t be in a position to start providing the service this winter, even if city council made the decision to do so today, since they have neither the staffing nor the required equipment.

“We would have to go back out to the industry, and put out a request for proposal to actually hire that contracted equipment,” a process that would take several months, Soldo says.

The city currently clears snow from about 400 kilometres worth of sidewalk, mainly around schools and municipal facilities.

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Read more: Some Hamilton councillors speak out against any tax increases in 2021

A report says it would cost up to $3.3 million, $8 for the average homeowner each year, if the city were to clear sidewalks along transit routes.

The price tag climbs as high as $5.3 million, $16 on average, if the city cleared all 2,403 kilometres of sidewalk across Hamilton.

Ward 3 Coun. Nrinder Nann says she sees municipal sidewalk clearing as a priority “inside the current context that we’re in.”

“Being outdoors and being able to move freely” is critical for mental and physical health during the pandemic, she says.