Shovel Snow or Pay!!!

Shovel snow or pay – that’s a policy that one of Prince Rupert’s Councillors is urging his colleagues to consider as Prince Rupert copes with an unusually snowy winter.

The issue was raised at this week’s council meeting when Councillor Barry Cunningham said that the owner of vacant buildings are doing a terrible job of keeping the snow cleared around their property.

“Now I know they can either be fined or we can hire somebody, so I suggest we go out and hire a private contractor and just give these people the bill. You know they are just sitting back and not worrying about it or caring who has to walk up and down that sidewalk," says Cunningham.

Cunningham says it’s around 3rd and McBride Street that the majority of the issues stem from and Councillor Joy Thorkelson agrees as she had to personally help a Prince Rupert resident across the street.

“On my way to city council there was a poor senior citizen trying to cross the road and she was slipping and sliding on the slush and I finally just parked the car in the middle of the road and helped her across the other way because she was just standing in the middle of the road, she couldn’t take another step,” says Thorkelson. 

Thorkelson says there’s a City bylaw that requires merchants to clean the snow in front of their property every morning and she’d like to see them do their part. She adds there are also over 50 City staff members helping clear the streets.

“We put a plough on the City’s ATV; we’ve been clearing sidewalks downtown and trying to clear the main walkways along where the busses travel,” says Thorkelson. 

Thorkelson says although the City continues to try and rectify the situation, one of the biggest problems are the crosswalks.

“The merchants shovel up to the crosswalk, the City is shovelling, the snow-plough trucks are getting rid of the snow on the road, but the trouble is that as the cars go by some of the snow is pushed into the crosswalk,” says Thorkelson. 

Thorkelson says moving forward she’d like for merchants and businesses in town to help pedestrians by not only cleaning in front of their stores, but also cleaning into the crosswalks, so that the pathway from the sidewalk to the crosswalk is clear.

“The sidewalks are nice and clear, but you try to get to the sidewalk across the street and you’re slipping and sliding and it’s very difficult for seniors,” says Thorkelson. 

Thorkelson says City crews will continue to clear as much snow as possible, however with the unexpected amount snow they are running out of places to dump it.

“We don’t have anywhere to put the snow and when we get this much snow we’re not prepared for it-- we’re not prepared to deal with this much snow for this extended period of time. Especially this winter, it’s been a terrible winter for the snow as everybody knows, I mean it’s March. I always say it snow during herring season, but I didn’t mean this much snow,” says Thorkelson.