EDITORIAL: Snow removal is a problem for all but…..

Joanna Johnson hoped her TikTok post would heat up Ajax Mayor Shaun Collier enough to just melt the snow out of her driveway. It never melted, but her driveway got cleaned.

You will have to click various places of the Metroland news piece to access the TikTok video
Joanna Johnson posted.

And she is dead on right about her snow removal complaint.

AJAX resident
is dead on right.

Undeniably, snow removal is a problem, particularly for older people who more than likely have health issues already. Snow shovelling can really exacerbate an already serious residential problem. However, what is not debatable is that man vs machine is not a fair match. The machine wins in the snow shovelling department every time. But there is a loss here too. The machine’s victory over the snow removal battle has been known to also defeat the homeowner. It is emotionally destructive to have cleaned the driveway right down to the city property edge, the curb, only to have the plow come around again and dump gigantic snow berms at the end of the driveway. “Heart attack city!!!!”

So Ajax resident Joanna Johnson has a legitimate gripe when she complains and criticizes the City of Ajax for its snow removal service. City bylaws legislate that a person must shovel the walkways in front of their house within 24 hours after the snowfall. A couple of hours work and then, the snowplow comes by again and in a minute, the end of the driveway is filled again, an impassable mountain of snow, a giant berm.

This snow removal process is no trivial matter. Councillor Robinson addressed this problem very soon after taking office promising that Pickering residents would get more help with snow removal than the current snow removal assistance policy at Pickering City Hall.

Councillor Robinson must have been outvoted as nothing has come of her promise. It would be interesting to hear that discussion: It’ll cost too much money in employee overtime; the overtime expense being passed along to the taxpayer expenditures will never be accepted; it cannot be done, there is no practical, feasible way to shovel driveways twice or easily avoid the problem; ahhh, let Saul Alinsky’s 9 day theory take its course, the public will forget about it in no time.

This is not an incomprehensible problem. Person to clear the snow, hours; plow to refill the driveway as it was before, seconds. That is not right. Johnson is among many people who are right in complaining about how municipalities clear the snow. She is dead on right in her criticism of a problem which is becoming more significantly serious as Mother Nature disrupts normal weather patterns because of climate change. Next, wait for it, when the torrential rains hit us, the city’s possibly outdated spillways and sewer infrastructure may be putting in a call to Noah, rather than Kevin or Maurice or Lisa, et al.

The snowplow is a machine and can do its job in minutes. If the driver slows down, adjusts how he plows the snow, it may add minutes to his run but there is no danger to the health of any resident. However, the dumping of a second load of snow in a resident’s driveway is another matter. Some residents are seniors. Some may have health issues. All residents are challenged physically by horrendous snowfalls but for those with health issues, there is more to worry about. Clearing mountains of snow can mean a serious impact on individuals with health issues. Residents do not have options for snow removal as the city bylaws dictate snow removal and these bylaws even dictate the time frame for this work.

City councillors should be aware: your snowplow operators are putting residents at serious health risk. There is no way to record or confirm that heart attack victims increased after a snow storm but common sense suggests it is likely so. Councillors, spend some more of our tax dollars to have snowplow operators clear snow or clear it again so residents’ lives are not put at risk. Otherwise the public purse at the provincial will be impacted severely with the increase of cardiac patients. This is not an exaggeration nor an overstatement. There are many residents who are at risk of heart attacks in clearing snow from their residences as dictated by the municipal autocrats.

Councillors, it’s time for you to do the right thing for the people who elected you. We doubt any of you will volunteer to shovel any else’s driveway for them and we wish you good health while you shovel your own.

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