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Letters to the editor, March 5, 2015 

These are the letters and comments from the print edition

Ice storm

I don't think people are understanding how limiting the snow and ice ridden sidewalks are for persons with disabilities ("Sidewalk conditions remain icy, dangerous and unacceptable," The City by Carrie Gilbert, February 26) . Do you not think that if they were physically capable of clearing the sidewalks they would? Being dependent on a clear pathway is something most don't depend on but the ones that do are now trapped in their homes dependent on the kindness of others for their everyday needs, some are just going without.

If we don't take care of our most vulnerable that speaks volumes about us. A call-in line for persons with disabilities to have their route cleared even if it is just to the store and back might be a start. My heart goes out to all who are suffering because of this. Step up HRM, set our people free. —posted by Judy Clarke at

Drove from Fredericton to Halifax today, and the highway conditions in Nova Scotia are embarrassingly bad in comparison.

It was an obvious switch—as soon as we crossed the border into Nova Scotia, there were ice ruts, uncleared passing lanes and dangerous road conditions. New Brunswick was perfect. One hundred percent clear dry roads. There was about 30cm of snow in NB yesterday, but you'd never know it.

This isn't a snow vs rain/freezing issue either. One kilometre in, the NB side was perfect. One kilometre into the NS side it was a mess. This is a laziness and failure to mandate service quality in the same way. So there it is.

This isn't just a Halifax issue, it appears the province also has the same issues. But everyone involved should be embarrassed and held accountable. —posted by si35

We did not have the same issue and did not need more staff when last year we had much more snow, and snowstorms were much more frequent. The problem is this year we have faster temperature variation—changes from positive to negative numbers and reverse. As a result, we have more freezing rainfalls or rainfalls and freezing temperatures right after.

For me it is not an issue to hire more staff but in the first place to find a better way to prevent the formation of these icy conditions. Sometimes it is even better TO NOT CLEAR snow before rain falls if freezing temperature comes right after. A good strategy is a key. After all, it is not only about the people with mobility issues but it is also about elderly people for whom these sidewalk conditions are dangerous to their health and even life. —posted by marmotte

From the "I Told You So" Department: Using Bobcats to clear the walks is the wrong tool for the job. There is no way the sidewalks can be cleared down to the concrete (as is the requirement). It failed last year. It failed this year. It will fail next year. But the genie is out of the bottle and we'll never go back. —posted by city mouse

It's obvious that something needs to be done. Right now we're pretty much just paying for a bunch of construction workers to drive up and down the streets in Bobcats. Either cancel the whole thing and put the money back in our pockets, or rewrite the contracts based on getting down to the pavement. There are no other options. We can do better.

Dal and SMU strangely have no problem getting their sidewalks down to the pavement—funny how people start giving a shit when they know they're going to be held responsible if someone falls! —posted by M2A

This is a special kind of winter. I feel for anyone that can't get around easily but I think the city is doing the best they can to deal with it. I am able bodied and I have as much salt as I need and I can't keep my own driveway clear this winter. I am not sure what protests are really going to accomplish. —posted by EastCoastKid

I'm all for clearing sidewalks, I'm all for people walking vs driving. I do when I can and admire those who bike and walk. I'm all for doing the best we can within reason. I don't think its reasonable to clear the four to six inches of pure ice from the thousands of kilometres of roads AND sidewalks. Without an army of people with pickaxes I'm not sure there's much we can do. Drastically increasing the budget for an uncommon event isn't a good operations strategy. —posted by Take A Step Back



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