Windrows created by city snow clearing has put some Red Deerians in a bad mood.
Anders resident Bob Patterson said it took him about an hour to remove the windrow, about a metre high, blocking his driveway after the city completed a surface plow on his street Friday morning.
It’s a tough job for seniors, or anyone, to clear away the snow that’s so hard it’s like cement, he said.
“The windrow is on city streets.
“What gives the city the right to block access to my home? And what gives the city the right to have me do the work of clearing that snow out of the street?” Patterson asked.
If someone parked a vehicle in front of my driveway it could be towed away for blocking access to my home, he said.
Patterson said the city used a small skid-steer loader to remove snow around a fire hydrant and mailboxes on his street and it wouldn’t have taken much to use it to clear driveways at the same time.
Dumping the snow at a nearby green space would have been easy.
He also noticed a skid-steer loader clearing a walking trail the same day. He said it could have been put to better use clearing windrows from driveways.
“This is the worst snow we’ve had in 70 years. It requires extraordinary action,” Patterson said.
Morrisroe resident Susan Lonsberry was angry that snow cleared from her alley was blocking garages and back gates.
“We need to access that back alley. It’s horrible when you’re seniors and you’re handicapped and you can’t access the back alley,” said Lonsberry, 60, who could not open her back gate to take out her garbage or recyclables.
“We’re all on fixed incomes. None of us can afford to hire somebody to come and get rid of (the city’s) mistake.”
A city call centre, which was shut down on Friday, could assist people who did not have the resources to remove windrows blocking their homes.
“They said they were only doing emergencies. I agree we’re not an emergency. But I also know what it’s like when you don’t have access to your property from the alley,” Lonsberry said.
Tara Shand, communications officer with the city, said the call centre received on average 200 calls per day about everything from windrows to plowing schedules to snowplow policy and city’s snow management process.
The city was regularly warning residents that windrows would be left behind. Residents were asked to remove them but it may still have been a surprise for some people, she said.
“This surface plow was about getting through all the neighbourhoods in a timely way so that the roads were passable so windrows were left behind. Early next week when they conduct the full plow, driveways will be cleared as part of that full plow,” Shand said.
“We just want to say thank you to citizens for their patience. We certainly appreciate neighbours going out and helping each other, and family and friends, to assist with the moving of those windrows and ensuring access for people.”
Shand said the type of equipment utilized on parks trails typically isn’t equipment that can be used in the residential plowing effort.
A full plow of all areas across the city that starts today will take up to 40 days to complete and will include blading down to the pavement.