Less than one year ago, my wife and I moved from a warm European country to Red Deer and bought a house close to our young grandchildren.
We had visited Red Deer before and knew what the winters would be like, but what we did not know were the rules and regulations relating to residential snow clearing set by the city.
Unfortunately, due to my wife and myself both having various disabilities, we were instructed by our doctors that we were not to do any snow clearing. Doctors’ letters were sent to the appropriate government department and we were then informed by the agency that we could hire someone to clear snow from the driveway and pavement (sidewalk) adjacent to our house and be reimbursed by the government.
Unfortunately, in the area we live there are no high school students we could ask to carry out this service for us and advertising in both the local press and Kijiji for someone in the area brought no success.
We found out very quickly after purchasing a home that the taxes appeared to be on the high side in Red Deer compared with what other members of our family living in other parts of the country paid for similar property types and had noticed that the city appeared to have large numbers of employees clearing snow in various areas and even scraping snow off bus stop seats with shovels but still leaving sections of ice on the seats.
I thought that due to our circumstances that the city could help us. I went to City Hall and asked if it was possible for someone to clear the snow on our behalf. We were given a definite ‘No’ to this request and were told that they do not help residential taxpayers with any assistance whatsoever.
I find this very disturbing and wonder what would happen if a person slipped and fell on snow or ice due to the fact that this actually occurred on city property and not on the homeowner’s property.
I understand that if a householder does not clear snow from the city sidewalk in front of their home, they would be fined by the city. But who would be liable if someone slipped and fell injuring themselves on this city property?
If this unfortunately happened to a person in front of my property and I was sued, I would certainly have to take the city to court as in my humble opinion they are the ones responsible.
It would be greatly appreciated if perhaps the head of the snow clearing department of the City of Red Deer would respond.
He could explain why a small portion of our tax dollars cannot go towards assisting older people who are disabled and in their late 70s, instead perhaps of driving around in trucks partially scraping bus stop seats and I say partially because afterwards walking over to the same seat still find deposits of ice adhered to them.