Skip to content

IN OUR VIEW: Clear the snow off those sidewalks!

Yes, the civic governments should take a more active hand in keeping sidewalks open
Two men were clearing a sidewalk in Langley’s Walnut Grove neighbourhood on Wednesday, Dec. 21. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley Township hasn’t finalized a policy, but it’s currently looking at expanding its role in clearing snow off sidewalks.

That’s going to come as a relief to many people who struggle to get around when we have a spell of bad winter weather.

The stereotype of coastal B.C. as a place of perpetual damp is mostly true, of course. We don’t need as many snow plows as folks in Montreal or Edmonton (and they get to act smug when it does snow half an inch and many of us wind up driving straight off the road).

But when it does snow, it can be miserable. If it doesn’t all instantly melt, it’s not uncommon for it to turn from slushy crud into frozen sheets of ice.

There’s been a tremendous amount of talk about making our communities more transit friendly, about getting more people to take buses, get on bikes, or walk to get to nearby destinations.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Iranian woman living in Fraser Valley urging MPs to sponsor prisoners to avoid execution

READ ALSO: OPINION: Cervical cancer awareness didn’t seem important to me, until it was

The biggest component of that is getting more buses and, eventually, SkyTrain.

But none of it will work if we can’t actually get from our front doors to the bus stop.

This new Township project – which, in its first draft, specifically mentions bus stops and routes to them as targets for extra snow clearing – would go a long way to helping fix that.

When we had snow and ice on the ground for a few weeks around Christmas this year – and last year – it created insurmountable barriers for some residents. People who rely on wheelchairs, walkers, canes, or mobility scooters could be cut off from their usual routes to stores, bus stops, and pharmacies if even one or two businesses failed to clear snow properly. An icy stretch of sidewalk isn’t much fun for the fully able-bodied either, and can be a serious injury hazard.

Expanding sidewalk access in the winter is a matter of public safety, accessibility, and improving transit connectivity for everyone.

– M.C.