News Online: Bylaw officers out inspecting unshoveled sidewalks

Published online at on January 19, 2011.

Linda Hoang, Global News: Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bylaw officers out inspecting unshoveled sidewalks

Complaints are rapidly coming in about unshoveled walks in the city.

City bylaw officers say they’re getting up to 80 complaints a day about unshoveled sidewalks.

After a complaint is made, the Community Standards Branch gets the process started by sending a bylaw enforcement officer to the property for inspection.

“The first thing we do is we measure it to see if it’s just a couple centimetres or if its more hardpacked and it looks like it hasn’t been cleaned for a few snowfalls,” explains bylaw enforcement officer Kaila Tipton.

Tipton is armed with an ice chipper and a camera to check and document snow depth on a city walk.

The city bylaw states that snow and ice must be cleared right down to concrete for the safety of the public.

Officers send out a notice to the property owner if they do find that snow hasn’t been cleared.

The notice gives the owner seven days to shovel out the ice and snow and on the eighth day, an officer returns for reinspection.

Tipton says if snow and ice is still on the walks on the day of re-inspection, that’s when the enforcement process — including being fined — begins.

“It’s kind of a balancing act,” said Mike Martin with the city bylaw department. “We always have to balance the public safety concern with fairness to property owners, a very difficult line to walk sometimes.”

Residents are also reminded to clear snow from buried cars.

If anyone makes a complaint of a car buried by the snow, officers can ticket the car and if it’s still uncleared 72 hours later, it can be towed.

Uncleared sidewalks and uncleared vehicles can result in tickets ranging from $100 and up.

To file a complaint about an unshoveled sidewalk, you can call the city’s 311 information number, or by going to the city’s website.

Meanwhile the city has announced they’ll start 24-hour blading of residential streets beginning Wednesday night.

Crews have been working for nearly two weeks to clear Edmonton roads from snow and ice.

Click here to read the article on the Global Edmonton website.

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