Note: A version of this story was published in the Free Press Community Review West online on Nov. 2, 2022 under the title “Better snow-clearing in the 2023-24 forecast“.
Relative to Winnipeg as a whole, West Broadway has a high share of people whose main mode of commuting1 is public transit, walking, or cycling. As such, many neighbourhood residents will recall the above-average snowfall last winter and the strain it put on our sidewalks. The City plans to be better equipped for winters like last one in the near future.
David Kron is a member of the Steering Committee for Barrier-Free Manitoba and Executive Director of The Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba. Barrier-Free Manitoba is a cross-disability initiative that championed and is working to ensure effective implementation of the Accessibility for Manitobans Act.
“We totally understand that Winnipeg is a winter city. And last year was a brutal winter. (…) Last year, we knew of a lot of stories where people just couldn’t leave their apartments or their house based on the snow clearing that happened” Kron said.
He notes that while adverse weather played a role last winter, City resources for snow clearing was a critical factor.
“The actual policy the City of Winnipeg has on snow clearing and sidewalks is pretty sound. It’s just having the resources to fully implement it over a bad winter” Kron added.
In June 2018, City Council adopted an Active Transportation Network Winter Maintenance Strategy. Part of this strategy was identifying snow clearing priority levels for active transportation routes (i.e. sidewalks, bike paths, and multi-use paths).
In 2022, the City’s Public Works department conducted a review of the snow clearing policy2. One recommendation of this review that Council adopted was increasing the capital budget $3 million3 to purchase 15 new sidewalk snow ploughs to improve clearing response times.
“We asked for that equipment and that equipment will be available to us next year” Michael Cantor, Manager of Streets Maintenance for the City said.
He added that the equipment will not be available for the 2022-23 winter. The ploughs should be available by May or June 2023, meaning improved service during heavy snowfall for the 2023-24 winter season.
Kron has been engaged by City departments and appreciates that City staff are working to educate themselves on accessibility.
“There’s 175,000 Manitobans that are identified with a disability. (…) If you’re lucky enough to live long enough, everyone is going to be disabled. (…) Whether you’re disabled or not, poor communication and poor snow clearing affects every Winnipegger. (…) We need to communicate and have the robust resources to (clear sidewalks)” Kron said.
1 . See page 11 o the Census Data profile for West Broadway. ↩
2 . See Item No 4. Reporting on the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy to the Standing Police Committee on Infrastructure and Public Works in the July 21, 2022 Council Meeting Minutes. ↩
3 . See Item No 4. Reporting on the Snow Clearing and Ice Control Policy to the Standing Police Committee on Infrastructure and Public Works in the July 21, 2022 Council Meeting Minutes. ↩
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