Gordon has an extraordinary perception and feel for the City of Vancouver. But here’s one area where I respectfully disagree with him, and that is in his post yesterday discussing why the bike path was shovelled (which was a city responsibility) and why the city walkways surrounded by city owned properties were not shovelled.
Under the City of Vancouver’s bylaws, property owners (and that includes the City of Vancouver along many of the public walkways) are responsible for shovelling their own sidewalks. The City of Vancouver does not obtain a “get out of jail free” card and must enact their own regulation upon themselves.
While everyone agrees that bike lanes should be shovelled, there is no “either/or” situation: it is both sidewalks along city owned properties and bike lanes that should be cleared by the City. The City by its own regulation is REQUIRED to do the due diligence of shovelling the sidewalk that they would enforce any other adjoining property owner to do. But the City appears not to be doing that.
Tax payers pay for bikeways and their maintenance and we are all good about that. But shovelling the sidewalk along public walkways when the City is the landlord is the city’s responsibility as shown in their very own bylaw. There should be no need for any motion of a Council member. It is up to the City to be a responsible property owner and do the right thing.
The City is also saying that pedestrians are the first priority in the Transportation Plan it is up to the City to show the way. Shovel the sidewalk adjoining all city owned properties and along the sea wall routes and greenways by 10:00 a.m. It is only equitable that the City behave the same way as every other property owner.
So as Mr Fumano puts it in the Vancouver Sun, the City did not “slip up” they simply did not follow their own regulation, in the classic case of “do as I say, not as I do”.
And here’s the regulation: “Vancouver property owners and occupants are responsible for clearing snow and ice from the full width of sidewalks in front of and, if on a corner lot, alongside their property by 10am the morning following a snowfall or freezing temperatures.
To keep our sidewalks and streets safe for people walking, cycling, and driving:
- Shovel snow onto your property, away from the road and sidewalk by 10am every day
- Clear storm drains of leaves and snow to prevent flooding
- Ask someone to clear your sidewalk if you’re away or unable to or request a Snow Angel”
Here’s Amy Sidwell, Manager of Street Operations for the City of Vancouver. You can hear her advice on clearing the sidewalk at 1:00 in the YouTube video below. Ms. Sidwell does say this applies to “all property owners”.