Hotel Kimberley owner Anthony Edwards wants a solution after years of complaining to the City, and Mainroad East Kootenay Contracting, about the snow, ice and road waste plowed onto the sidewalk outside of his business.
Bylaw requires business owners to keep their sidewalks clear of snow in the wintertime. This is Edwards’ fourth winter in Kimberley and he says he goes “above and beyond” with shovelling snowfall from the sidewalks, but argues that the ice and debris plowed onto them should not necessarily be his burden to bear.
“We’ve got not only the legal reason that we have to clear our sidewalks, but we also have a social responsibility that we want to make sure the sidewalks are safe for people to walk up and to keep the place looking tidy as well,” Edwards said.
Edwards says that his building faces two lanes of Wallinger Ave., meaning there’s two lanes worth of debris moved onto his sidewalk, which he then must clear by hand. He says he tries to shovel it back into the shoulder of the road, sometimes trying to create a windrow in an effort to protect his sidewalk from the plow.
“But what happens is, all our best efforts go to waste because the plough either smashes through that windrow, or he goes that quick that he sprays it over the top. Not only across the sidewalk but he sprays it onto our property, he basically sprays it into our entranceway that’s on the corner there, literally we’ve come out the door there and not been able to open the door from the amount of crap.”
When this happens, Edwards said it takes him an hour and a half to two hours to deal with, in addition to already having shovelled the walks, which takes him at least an additional hour.
“In the meantime, until I deal with it, people can’t walk on it,” he said. “This is what I find really awful about this whole thing, the financial cost aside, or the general annoyance aside, what I find really awful about this is Kimberley’s supposed to be this green, pedestrian friendly, outdoors loving city. Yet if you don’t have two good legs, you can’t walk on that sidewalk.”
The Kimberley Bulletin reached out to Mainroad for comment on the issue.
”On December 3rd, 2020, a meeting was held with Mr. Edwards and Mainroad’s Operations Manager, Road Manager for Cranbrook, the Project Manager, as well as a representative from the City of Kimberley,” Niki Taylor, Mainroads communications manager replied in an email. “Together the group discussed snow removal, and winter operations and at that meeting they came to a resolution to address Mr. Edward’s concerns.”
However, according to Edwards, the morning after this meeting where some proposed solutions were discussed, he came out of the building and found that Mainroad had again plowed a large amount of ice and debris onto his walk.
“We all stood on the sidewalk and talked about how we could try and mitigate the issue and Richard from Mainroad was quite open to trying to do something to try to mitigate the issue, but the other fellow who runs the plows I think wasn’t as excited about doing anything to help,” Edwards explained.
“He just basically said well we’ve got to plow the roads and it’s your job to clear the sidewalks it’s not our issue, even though they’re the ones that dump the snow on there. So we had a meeting for well over an hour about it and the very next day I came out in the morning after clearing the sidewalk and they had dumped three foot boulders of ice onto the sidewalk.”
At the meeting, Edwards said a couple of potential solutions were discussed, including looking at having the plow loop back around at the intersection after the one in front of the hotel, to move the snow to the other side of the road where there is a buffer.
“That was about the only solution that they could come up with, other than that the plows need to slow down, which is a big thing,” Edwards said. Edwards also said he suggested raising the rear blade on the plow, which could prevent the snow from being thrown so far.
“The City, for its part, it doesn’t have a lot to offer because they claim no responsibility actually, even though we’re one of the highest taxpayers in the City of Kimberley, commercially speaking,” Edwards said. “We seem to be like the meat in the sandwich because essentially the bylaws could potentially ticket us if we don’t move the snow and it’s not snow, it’s actually road waste that they’re dumping on the sidewalk and on our property, but yet the bylaw officer could potentially ticket us for not clearing it.”
The Kimberley Bulletin reached out to the City for comment, but haven’t heard back at the time of publication.