Fines for Calgary’s snow-shovelling scofflaws won’t hit for a year

City council might want to get tough with Calgarians who refuse to shovel their snowy sidewalks — but the pinch won’t actually be felt for another year.

Last summer, council approved $250 fines for people who do not clear their walks.

That would come on top of the $150 to $200 charge if the city dispatches a work crew to do the work.

However, no fines will actually be handed out this winter.

The city’s bylaw services will focus on education before any tickets are written up.

The city’s community standards manager Damien Cole said they don’t want anyone to be able to say they didn’t know the fines were coming.

“The practice for this winter will be no different from any other winter,” said Cole.

“We will still have contractors going out and there will be a charge for that contractor going out if the sidewalk hasn’t been cleared after 24 hours.”

Escalating fines

Council authorized fines of $250 for a first offence, with $500 for a second ticket and $750 for a third.

Cole said if a property owner continues to refuse to clean the snow after that, subsequent offences can result in a mandatory court appearance.

Given the change, he said they’d decided public education is a key part of changing behaviour.

“It is a drastic change from the way we’ve done operations in the past,” he said.

Damien Cole is the manager of the City of Calgary’s community standards. (Scott Dippel/CBC)

The education will happen through the media but also by sending letters and leaving door-hanger notices at individual properties.

The issue took on greater prominence during the heavier-than-average snowfall in Calgary last winter.

Cole said the city received 17,000 complaints last winter and contractors were sent out to clear snow at 4,000 properties. He said that was about double the number of calls for an average year.

A matter of public safety

It became a concern for council because it was a question of public safety and also accessibility for people with mobility issues.

“Our job is to try and keep the public safe and with the extra fine on top of a city crew going out, we’re hoping that this focuses people’s minds on how dangerous it can be to have a sidewalk that is covered in ice for longer than that 24-hour period,” said Cole.

The education-first strategy means tickets will not be handed out until the final months of 2019.

In addition to fines, city council is also putting more money into clearing snow from its sidewalks.

Council approves a budget increase of $9.5 million as well a new strategy that prioritizes popular pathways and wheelchair ramps for the attention of work crews.

There are approximately 5,700 kilometres of sidewalks in Calgary. The city is responsible for clearing about 10 per cent of them with the rest being left to adjacent property owners to keep clear of snow.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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