City officials all worked up about snow

I have been clearing snow from neighbours’ sidewalks, and alleys, and even at times areas on the streets in Red Deer, for more than 10 years with my ATV.

I have been clearing snow from neighbours’ sidewalks, and alleys, and even at times areas on the streets in Red Deer, for more than 10 years with my ATV.

In the last couple of years, the City of Red Deer has added a new force to police bylaws and help the RCMP.

It seems that since then, clearing heavy snowfalls out of my alley and helping neighbors remove snow is suddenly something that the “peace officers” are willing to dispatch their entire force to have me arrested and charged.

I have at no time gone on anyone’s property without the owner’s permission and have never blocked anyone’s driveway or access with a drift from the edge of the snowblade on my ATV.

The same route I follow helps seniors, and residents get to and from Co-op, the corner store, and the Mohawk gas station downtown.

My ATV is equipped with an amber flashing light and cannot exceed 15 km/hour with a blade. It is insured and registered as an “off-highway vehicle,” not a recreational vehicle, as the “peace officers” seem to believe.

At no time does the snow I plough interfere with traffic, private property or city property.

I take great care with pedestrians, and even installed a silencer on the muffler so as not to disturb anyone.

Recently the city announced that they would have difficulty removing snow from residential areas, so I ask, why should residents not be able to remove the snow themselves if they are following all regulations, and insuring the Traffic Safety Act is being followed?

I recently contacted the new city engineer, Frank Colosimo, and found that he personally had no problem with the removal of snow, and appreciated the help. I then sent an email asking for authorization under Bylaw 25(1) to make a provision/regulation during snow removal to help the “peace officers” use some common sense when it comes to citizens helping residents, and the city during heavy snowfall.

The response was not what I was expecting. Here is what Public Works manager Greg Sikora wrote:

“While I do respect your intent to assist in providing clear sidewalks for your neighbors and community, Public Works does not support the use of private ATV, skid steer or other similar units for snow removal on city sidewalks, paths or roads.”

According to the response I’m reading, if anyone contracted someone to clear a road, that the city wouldn’t because of financial reasons, they could be charged? It’s time that the City of Red Deer made some changes to the bylaw that allows for some common sense to be exercised.

I plan to continue plowing snow from the properties I have permission to be on. I will also continue to help residents with alleys, and areas that the city of Red Deer won’t.

I would only ask that the “peace officers” use some common sense when it comes to private citizens trying to be Snow angels in Red Deer.

Robert Bonin

Red Deer

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