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10 February, 2013

THE WOES OF WINTER -- AND TOWN SNOW PLOWS

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH THAT MESS?  This is what faced me at
noon on Saturday --  three-and-a-half feet of snow in my driveway.


DIG YOURSELF OUT YOU FOOL!  After almost an hour of  shoveling I 
finally penetrated the heavy  blockade but couldn't help leaving some 
snow in the street.
I know that I am no different than any one else when it comes to coping with mounds of snow piled in my driveway by municipal road clearing crews each winter. It is an unfortunate fact of life this time of year, but that does not make it any less of a nuisance that places inconvenience and physical strain on all of us.  Adding insult to injury for me this week was an announcement by Saugeen Shores Police Chief Dan Rivett to the effect that is was a breach of the Highway Traffic Act to deposit snow back onto the roadway, a crime that carried a $110 fine.  I just could not sit back and take it any more and vented my frustration in the following Letter to the Editor of the Saugeen Times.  I'm sure that readers will appreciate where I am coming from on this one.

Letter to the Editor, Saugeen Times

I may have been guilty of breaking a law under the Highway Traffic Act on Saturday, February 9, 2013.

I read with interest and a degree of chagrin the "Police Beat" column published in the Saugeen Times, February 7, 2013, and a notice "From the Desk of the Chief (Dan Rivett)" announcing to the tax-paying public the sin of "pushing snow onto the roadway." He added insult to injury for 90 per cent of the population of Saugeen Shores by pointing out the potential of a $110.00 fine. My immediate reaction was "I think I may be in trouble."

You see I am a 75-year-old senior citizen recovering from total hip replacement surgery. For three days late last week I was marooned in my home due to the heavy snow fall and the fact that town road and sidewalk plows had deposited a good three-and-a-half-feet of snow in the entrance to my driveway. Finally, on Saturday, February 9, with no snow fall overnight, I had no other option but to dig myself out -- we were running out of food and my disabled wife needed a drug prescription refilled. I started shoveling at 1:15 p.m. and by 2 o'clock I had made my way down to the entrance to the driveway -- that's where the real work began. I took a short break for a hot cup of soup and two Naproxens, then set out to try to make a dint in the waist-high pile of snow at the roadway. Exactly 50 minutes later, I made the breakthrough.

Just as I was finishing depositing the last shovel of snow in the by now six-foot mountain at the curb, an elderly woman happened by on foot. We chatted briefly. She told me that she and her 90-year-old husband had a similar problem at their home just around the corner. "He (her husband) is laid up today because he worked so hard for two days trying to clear the pile of snow at the foot our driveway. I tried to tell him to take it easy, but he insisted; now he's paying a price," she lamented. I fully sympathized.

I live on Grey Street North in Southampton where the sidewalk is separated from the street by a two-foot-wide boulevard which limits space to pile up snow cleared from the street entrances to our driveways. Try as I may, I could not help but spread some of the snow approximately three feet out onto the street where it came from originally...In fact we all do it, out of necessity. The accompanying two photos show exactly what I am talking about. The scene was repeated several hundred times in Southampton this weekend.

This is how the "placement of snow" act is printed in Town of Saugeen Shores "Winter Maintenance Procedures".


Placement of Snow on Municipal Right-of-Ways

"Residents of the Town of Saugeen Shores are reminded that, pursuant to Section 181 of the Highway Traffic Act:

No person shall deposit snow or ice on a roadway without permission in writing to do so from the Ministry or the Road Authority responsible for the maintenance of the road R.S.O. 1990, s 181. Deposition of these materials on the roadway interferes with property maintenance practices. Your attention to this Act is required to assist us with keeping the roads maintained in a safe and useable condition."


Since he has publicly made an issue of this matter, my question to Chief Rivett is this: How much snow "deposited" back on the street is too much and how far out on the street is too far? For most of us it is virtually impossible not to leave some snow on the roadway after clearing the entrances to our driveways. Surely his officers will show due discretion as they patrol town streets (?) after heavy snowfalls and make allowances for senior citizens in particular who do not set out to break the law...They just need to get out of their driveways by the most expeditious means possible and without getting stuck in the snow that the town has redirected onto their property. Sometimes it is not a fair world! Not even in Southampton the good.

Richard "Dick" Wright
Southampton

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