City considers fines for people who don’t remove snow
City council is considering increasing the fines for people who don’t remove snow from walkways and sidewalks.
It’s the latest move by the city after calls for better safety for Calgarians in the winter, especially those with mobility issues.
“I had to rescue an older woman stuck in a snowbank last year because the streets were not cleared and she couldn't get up and I had to pick her up and help her into my car and drive her home,” said Tom Gaspar, concerned citizen.
“We have a very mobile population who walk, bike, use public transit and drive, but everybody walks from A to B,” said George Chahal, Ward 8 Councillor.
Last month an additional $9 million was added to the snow removal budget to clear city sidewalks and paths. The city encourages people to clear the sidewalks in front of homes, and may crack down on those who don’t.
The proposal is for a first-time fine of $250 for those who don’t clear snow within 24 hours. A second time would cost $500 and a third time within a 12-month period would lead to a $750 fine. Despite being high fines, some Calgarians are supportive.
“If you increase the fines, people will pay attention, so it's a motivational means to keep people on par with it,” said Derren Beda.
“I think as a homeowner, everybody should clear their sidewalks when they're able to,” said Lori Cook. “For people who are unable to, that's when the snow angels need to come into place.”
The report being submitted for the proposal says 89 per cent of property owners comply with the snow clearing rules already, so the higher fines are aimed at motivating the rest. However, Chahal says it might not be enough.
“I think we need to look at upping the fines, but I think we need to educate the public first,” he said.
The proposal goes before council during the regular Monday session. You can watch council sessions by logging on here.