Town will run trial residential sidewalk clearing program for winter

A welcome sign for Fairview, Alta. on Saturday, April 4, 2020. John Watson/Postmedia

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The Town of Fairview will maintain residential sidewalks on a trial basis during the 2020/2021 winter season.

Additionally, any penalties associated with lack of maintenance of residential sidewalks will be dismissed. This bylaw was discussed during the Nov. 3 council meeting.

In the event that crews take too long to clear a resident’s sidewalk, the town encourages community members to still remove their own snow from the sidewalk in front of their homes.

Maintenance will include the application of products to remove or diminish ice on sidewalks, as well as the clearing of snow after every snowfall. The town has indicated that they would like residents should clearly mark or remove any features or landscaping near the sidewalks to prevent damage by snow-clearing machinery. Any damage done to unmarked structures and features will not be the responsibility of the Town of Fairview.

“This policy just reflects our new program this year. We’re going to remove snow on the residential sidewalks and see how it goes,” said CAO Daryl Greenhill to council during the meeting.

“That’s really what this policy reflects, and it gives us some time to figure it out. We are going to be hiring other part-time employees. Then we’ll see how things go.”

The Town of Fairview will also be maintaining the loop on the southern Cummings Lake trail. They will also be maintaining the sidewalks at the curling rink arena.

Near the end of the winter season, the town will look at how the service was received and the efficiency of it. They will evaluate and determine continuing the service based on time spent removing snow, availability of staff and any other costs and liabilities. Council will use that information to determine if the service is worth continuing or not.

Council is unsure at this time the feasibility of clearing all residential areas and what sidewalk cleaning priority looks like. They are also unsure of clearing at residential properties in commercial areas.

Staff hired by the town will be using a machine to clear the snow off sidewalks. Staff did a trial run using this machine and determined that certain types of snow will require certain types of adjustments to the machine.

The CAO added that they won’t know too much about the efficiency of this machine until they have used it many times and can provide more accurate timelines on how quickly staff can work through each residential area after each snow fall.

Council moved unanimously in favor of accepting this policy. No other amendments were made.

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