Kitchener residents face $400 bill if they don’t keep sidewalks clear of snow

With snow expected to hit Kitchener sooner rather than later, the city is warning residents that proactive bylaw inspections will take place this winter.

The city will no longer be waiting for a resident to lodge a complaint about sidewalks being shovelled. Instead, bylaw officers will now be looking for people who have not cleared their sidewalks within 24 hours of a snowfall.

The officers will issue a warning before returning 24 hours later to see if things have been cleared up. If a property owner does not get the job done, the city will send out staff to get things cleared up and the owner will have to foot the bill, which is estimated to be around $400.

This measure is just a pilot project at this point.

“Our proactive bylaw officers will inspect and collect data on sidewalk conditions to help us assess the effectiveness of the program and we’ll report back to council in May 2019,” said Aaron McCrimmon-Jones, transportation planning project manager for the city of Kitchener.

The city is hoping to make sidewalks more accessible in winter months.

“Not being able to count on a safe route that’s clear of snow and ice can be a challenge for people using sidewalks in the winter,” McCrimmon-Jones said. “Our current data suggests bylaw enforcement has a positive impact on sidewalk maintenance.”

For those that need a hand keeping their sidewalks clear, the Working Centre is offering assisted sidewalk and windrow clearing services for up to 50 properties.

Kitchener residents are also reminded that from Dec. 1 until Mar. 31, there is no overnight parking on any city street, regardless of whether there is snow.

The city also has a new program in which there will be 10 grants of $500 to buy snowblowers that will be jointly owned by neighbours to help clear their snow.

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