Kitchener announced it is expanding its winter sidewalk maintenance program to include proactive bylaw inspection to help keep the community moving safely. A flyer is being mailed out to residents this week to help explain what is new.
Under the current bylaw, residents are responsible for clearing snow and ice from sidewalks around their property within 24 hours of a snowfall. Unfortunately, some property owners aren’t complying with the bylaw making it hard to get around and creating barriers for anyone with a walker, wheelchair, stroller or other mobility device.
“Not being able to count on a safe route that’s clear of snow and ice can be a challenge for people using sidewalks in the winter,” transportation planning project manager Aaron McCrimmon-Jones said in a media release on Tuesday. “Our current data suggests bylaw enforcement has a positive impact on sidewalk maintenance. When infraction notices are issued, over 90 per cent of Kitchener property owners respond by clearing adjacent sidewalks within 24 hours of receiving the notice.”
This winter, bylaw officers will be proactively inspecting sidewalks citywide. If a sidewalk is not cleared, a bylaw officer will issue a one-time notice to the property owner and return after 24 hours. If the sidewalk has still not been cleared, the city will clear it and the property owner will be invoiced approximately $400.
Residents can call the corporate contact centre at 519-741-2345 to report sidewalks that have not been shovelled. When a complaint is received, staff will inspect the sidewalk.
“Our proactive bylaw officers will inspect and collect data on sidewalk conditions to help us assess the effectiveness of the program and we’ll report back to council in May 2019,” McCrimmon-Jones said.
Residents will also be able to provide feedback about the program by completing surveys at engagekitchener.ca on February 1 and April 1.
There are a few programs available to residents that might save them from getting a visit from bylaw officers.
The city has grant funding available for up to 10 neighbourhood snow blowers which will be shared by residents living in the same area to keep their neighbourhood clear of snow and ice. Residents can apply for a $500 grant at lovemyhood.blitzen.com. The deadline for applications is Nov. 9.
The Working Centre is offering service for up to 50 properties with residents who need assistance. This is for sidewalks and windrow (that pile of snow at the end of your driveway) clearing only, not driveways and private walkways.
Residents are also being reminded by the City of Kitchener there is no overnight parking on any city streets from Dec. 1 – March 31 from 2:30 to 6 a.m.