What do we do in the winter with our snow-covered sidewalks in front of our properties in Portage la Prairie?
That question was a topic of discussion at City Council this past Monday. Public Safety Chair Colin Doyle says a Canada Post letter carrier asked him where the responsibility lies for sidewalk clearing. He explains their job involves going door to door daily, noting icy, snow-covered sidewalks can be a public safety hazard for them.
"I was glad to get some clarification tonight because, honestly, when I was asked, I didn't know the answer," says Doyle. "In priority zones such as school zones and crosswalks, it is the city's responsibility to clear those areas. Areas for business and retail areas, it is the business or the business owners' responsibility to clean the sidewalks out front, and in the non-priority zones of the city. If you have a sidewalk on your residential frontage, there is no responsibility that lies on the homeowner to clear it. It is more of a good-citizen/good-neighbour sort of policy where the cleaner you can keep your sidewalk, the safer it is for everyone who's using the sidewalk in front of your house."
He says this means no by-law exists for residential frontage and sidewalk clearing.
Doyle adds topics that have never been discussed as a council are the lower-priority sections of the city streets.
"After this evening, it is somewhat in the spotlight and we will, I'm sure, revisit it from here," continues Doyle.
A map was issued recently in the Portage City magazine to your mail. It is also located on the city's website under Operations and Transportation.
"I think that some people may be under the impression that this is their responsibility and for those people who do think it is their responsibility, now we know that it is not, I hope you continue to be a Good Samaritan and clean the snow off of your sidewalk," says Doyle. "For those who don't clean your snow at the moment, we encourage you to please do so again. There is no by-law, and you will not get a fine for not doing it, but it's definitely in everyone's best interest if you clean the snow off your sidewalks."