Then it snows and the ideals go to shit.
Today I saw two very frail-looking, slow-moving elderly people pushing their walkers in traffic on Bridgeport near the intersection of Erb. Why? Knox Presbyterian Church hadn't ploughed the sidewalk on their property along Bridgeport Road. There was lots of traffic and cars were slipping in the snowy street; it was incredibly dangerous to be walking in the road. My guess is that the couple had gone to the library and were trying to get home.
Most winters the sidewalk clearing around uptown Waterloo is so poor that many elderly people in the uptown area are housebound for months. The uptown is ringed by seven residences for elderly people, from the full-care facility at King-William to the high rise Water Park apartments. The Adult Recreation Center (ARC) is also in uptown.
It's not just people with walkers, but anyone who's a little unsteady on their pins who can't get through the snow drifts that are left all winter in front of many properties. And it's not just home owners. The city often doesn't clear the pile of snow in front of the crosswalk at Erb and Peppler, so people trying to cross the street have to climb a sizable hump of snow. The sidewalk beside the city lots of Caroline are never well shovelled; at best we get a narrow track. The empty lot at 32 Alexandra, owned by the Auburn company, is rarely if ever ploughed.
The Waterloo city by-law "Snow and Ice", #82-12, states that sidewalks must be cleared 24 hours after a snowfall. This applies to occupants as well as owners, to vacant land as well as occupied. It applies to houses, apartments, churches, public land, schools, and every other type of property. Failing to adequately clear your sidewalk of snow and ice can result in a $2,000 fine, as well as the cost of the city clearing it.
The city mostly acts on uncleared sidewalks when they receive a complaint. We can all contact the city about uncleared sidewalks by calling 519-747-6280 or by filling out this form, which goes to the by-law enforcement department.
Fair warning: I am planning to rat on everyone in uptown Waterloo who breaks the by-law this winter.
(If requested, the city will help clear the sidewalks of the physically disabled or people over 65. Call 519-579-6930.)