snow clearing toronto

Toronto is getting heated over snow removal

Sidewalks, roadways, bike paths, transit platforms—if it can be snowed upon, it can be griped about when that snow isn't cleared off in a reasonable amount of time.

The issue of snow removal, or lack thereof by city crews, is coming to a head, as evidenced by a statement released on Tuesday from The City of Toronto's Ombudsman.

"Ombudsman Toronto is aware of broad-based public concern about snow removal in Toronto this winter," reads the statement, which was inspired by "many stories of people reporting that sidewalks, roads, bike lanes or public paths have not been cleared of snow and ice in a timely way."

"People have also said that calls to the City to complain sometimes yield delayed responses or no response," said Ombudsman Susan Opler in the statement.

The issue appears to stem from what the Ombundsman's office calls "different approaches to sidewalk snow removal in different parts of the city, a holdover from before amalgamation more than two decades ago."

The city does provide mechanical sidewalk snow clearing in most parts of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, but says it's unable to provide the same service in Toronto and East York.

Downtown residents say that's not good enough. Some are even taking matters into their own hands by clearing off paths and then pretending to "bill" the city.

Opler said in her statement that "sidewalks not cleared of snow and ice affect many people, including those with mobility challenges and young families with strollers."
 
Her office will continue to monitor the issue closely, she says, and looks forward to seeing what City staffers say of the problem during Council's upcoming budget discussion on the topic.

Lead photo by

Gareth Bate


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