Councillor Woodsworth met with city staff today to explore ways that the city can better deal with snow on Vancouver sidewalks.
According to Woodsworth, “we need to do more to alleviate the hardships faced by seniors, people with disabilities, working people who can’t get to work because sidewalks are blocked by snow and ice, transit users, homeless, and all the others who have suffered during the harsh weather. Many have even been housebound.”
While this year’s winter has been an anomaly – and she acknowledges the work of city staff and residents – Woodsworth believes it’s important for Vancouver to have more plans in place.
At the next council meeting, she will ask staff to explore the possibility of working with community centres and/or local non-profit agencies about the possibility of partnering on programs that would allow them to coordinate the dispersal of shovels, salt, etc to central locations, and mobilize volunteers, or hire staff to clear sidewalks for those with limited mobility during snow emergencies. This could be accomplished by establishing and publicizing a "snow helpline " coordinated through a non-profit or community centre.
She will also be calling for the city to distribute a pamphlet to all residents – in multiple languages – acknowledging what they have endured, explaining existing by-laws and legal liability, the responsibilities of business and residential property owners, and encouraging residents to be good neighbours and remove snow and ice from the sidewalks adjacent to their property in future snow or ice events.