After about seven years in Hope, I feel the need to make a few comments on the snow services.
We have lived in four other municipalities – two in B.C., one in the Northwest Territories, and one in Alberta. I base my comments primarily on comparison.
The frequency of plowing in Hope is higher than the other municipalities compared, which in some respects is, of course, positive. However, while plowing of residential streets is appreciated, the blocking of driveways is not.
The snow from plows is heavy and compacted. In all the other municipalities we lived in, there was a process to clear driveways following plowing. In one, the clearing of driveways was not in place when we first lived there, but was put in place as a result of public demand supported by a significant number of coronary emergencies from people having to deal with this heavy compacted snow blocking their driveways.
In Hope, we have one of the highest percentages of elderly in the province as a result of many people moving here to retire – these people, so crucial to our tax base, are some of the people most affected and at risk due to this practice – or should I say, lack thereof. Also, let’s not forget the people who need to get to work in the morning to run our businesses and provide our services.
In addition, storm drains are not cleared. They are plowed under and stay that way, unless like myself and a number of other residents, drains and curbs are kept open. However, this gets to be too much eventually as the plow defeats our efforts. Who will be responsible for flood damage when there is a quick melt and the storm drains are not open?
Fire hydrants too, are not kept clear, in fact sometimes buried completely.
I am sure this would be seen as negligence should a tragedy occur due to the time it takes to access a hydrant.
Again, in the other jurisdictions we have lived in we have not seen the storm drains or the hydrants be left unattended during winter snow storms. The liability for not doing so, I would think, would be of concern to the municipality’s insurance carrier.
I am not unaware of the cost pressures of public organizations, however the winter season is short in Hope and the cost of doing a quality job would be far less than in most of the province.
These issues are not minor and are part of quality improvement and subsequently respect for residents of the municipality – those who support the municipality.