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Fort Macleod town council eyes snow removal policy change

Council will re-evaluate the Town of Fort Macleod’s longstanding policy of clearing snow from the avenues leading to downtown.
Council received a report Jan. 27 from community peace officer Scott Donselaar advising the policy should be rescinded.
Donselaar in his report told council the Town of Fort Macleod could be held liable if someone is hurt on an avenue that has not had snow cleared.
The town’s policy is for the public works crew to clean the avenue sidewalks “as time permits.”
Donselaar explained to council there is now an expectation by property owners on the avenue that the town will clear the snow.
Those property owners are not clearing the sidewalks even when it is not done by the public works crew.
“Having a policy such as this in place thereby exposes the town as a primary party in an injury suit,” Donselaar explained in his written report.
Donselaar also noted the policy makes the Town of Fort Macleod’s approach to snow removal inconsistent.
“It affords specific residents special treatment whereby anyone residing or doing business off of a street location does not receive the same treatment, yet provides the same rate of taxes,” Donselaar wrote.
Donselaar also told council the policy makes it difficult to enforce the by-law requiring property owners to clear sidewalks following a snowfall.
The policy was adopted by the Town of Fort Macleod to make it easier for people to get downtown to shop.
“That’s been there for a long time,” Coun. Gord Wolstenholme said. “You’ll have people quite upset about it.”
After some discussion, council decided to postpone a decision until after the winter.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Morgan Says:

    Just asking for clarification… Is this referring to cleaning the sidewalks on all avenues, or just ones close to downtown?

  2. Editor Says:

    The public works crew cleans Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh avenues, time permitting.

  3. Sharan Randle Says:

    The town has liability for it’s streets which are cleared sometimes and sometimes not depending on “I’m not sure what”.
    The Town also has responsibility for crosswalks wherever we have any and these are on avenues.
    To place responsibility on the adjacent property owners for the avenue sidewalks will not alleviate the Towns responsibility and liability for the entrances and exits of alleys/laneways that are the properties of the Town that enter onto all avenues.
    If the avenues are being cleared then the entries and exits of the laneways are cleared as well which makes sense to me and I believe this is where the clearing of avenues all started.
    It is about time we start keep what we have and get some more municipal services for our tax dollars instead of using them for Tourism development which is the responsibility of the businesses that benefit from it and social services that are the responsibility of the Province.
    For the last few years since the now defunct college announcement we have put all our eggs in the “service line basket” to service that property and since we are now in the fortunate position to have been reimbursed these funds let’s use them where we have been scrimping since 2006! Other municipal infrastructure.
    The businesses in this Town have the Chamber of Commerce acting on their behalf. Every non profit group seems to have a voice at the Council table. Maybe it’s time we started a Residential Ratepayers Association to have a platform to speak on behalf of Residential taxpayers to keep MUNICIPAL services in the forefront.

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