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‘Nature of the beast’: Calls grow to address icy Winnipeg sidewalks

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‘Nature of the beast’: Calls grow to address icy Winnipeg sidewalks
A councillor is calling for better plowing of Winnipeg’s sidewalks, pointing to the dangers posed by unsafe and icy conditions. Katherine Dornian reports. – Mar 30, 2023

A councillor is calling for better plowing of Winnipeg’s sidewalks, pointing to the dangers posed by unsafe and icy conditions.

Motions previously introduced to Winnipeg’s executive policy committee, requesting a look at plowing sidewalks to the pavement, have been repeatedly voted down. But Coun. Matt Allard hasn’t given up.

His latest motion is set to be debated at a public works committee meeting on March 11.

“We know that the sidewalks are not safe,” said Allard. “Our current snow clearing policy puts our residents in danger and it doesn’t respect their human rights.”

Allard said unclean sidewalks, jammed with ice and snow, make it difficult for people with disabilities and seniors to get around. Many are forced to stay at home for the winter.

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The city’s snow-clearing policy is based on a system, according to Coun. Janice Lukes. The more foot traffic in an area, the higher priority it has in getting cleared.

Lukes said there is only so much the city can do. She said a committee report is coming out in June looking at how best to handle the city’s freeze-thaw cycle, but said residents should report any bad sections in their area.

“Part of the nature of the beast is the climate we live in,” said Lukes. “The city will come out and look to see if they can open drainage. They will look to see if they can scrape it. They will look to see if they can sand it.”

Carmen Nedohin, president of the Canadian Association of Retired People’s branch in Manitoba, said the way sidewalks are right now means accidents are just waiting to happen.

Conditions are treacherous, she said, and the city should be doing more to clear up areas.

“When the city isn’t clearing the sidewalks adequately, and then you add in this very slow melt, everything is just so icy. It’s actually treacherous to be out there,” said Nedohin.

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