Snow removal: Winnipeg reviews snowplow operations

The City of Winnipeg has announced crews will clear snow from residential streets after complaints and concerns mounted following a recent snowfall and some are hoping accessibility will play a bigger role in snow removal in the city. ‘coming.

Nancy Gabriel uses a walker and takes the bus. She struggled to get around Winnipeg following recent snowfall, which covered the city by 10 to 20 centimeters, depending on the region, from November 10 to 11.

“Sometimes my husband has to carry my walker and I have trouble walking,” Gabriel said.

She is not alone.

Vivi Dabee is the Advocacy and Community Outreach Program Manager at CNIB in Winnipeg. Dabee said that for people with vision loss, winter conditions make it harder to navigate the city.

“It’s very debilitating if you can’t get out of your house just to go to the corner store to get the necessary items you might need because your street isn’t plowed,” Dabee said, adding that Street snow removal is about more than just making it easier for vehicles to move.

“If you live in an area where there are no sidewalks and the streets are not plowed, it is difficult for a visually impaired person to determine where the sidewalk ends and the street begins and you could potentially put yourself in danger,” Dabee said. .

It’s an issue that St. Vital resident Raymond Slipetz, who is blind, wants the city to address.

He filed a complaint last March against the City of Winnipeg with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission because he said the city’s snow removal policy did not meet accessibility needs.

“You have people who have limited vision like me and you have people in wheelchairs, which first put me on the thing that can’t access the city during the winter,” Slipetz said. .

The City of Winnipeg’s Public Works Department said it could not arrange an on-camera interview on Tuesday.

In an emailed statement, a spokesperson said they take plowing issues and concerns like this very seriously.

“Public Works is continually working to improve the quality of snow removal from streets and sidewalks to better meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities, despite the adverse winter weather conditions we face from November through March,” said said Ken Allen, spokesperson. for the City of Winnipeg Public Works Department.

Allen added that the department is working with the city’s universal design coordinator, the snow removal industry and accessibility advocates on the issue.

“We are reviewing and updating plow operator training to include accessibility information to improve the level of service,” Allen said. “It is expected that once the training is in place in 2023, the snow removal standard will be improved for all sidewalk users.”

Dabee finds this work encouraging.

“It demonstrates that the city is aware of the problem,” Dabee said, noting that until more changes are made, people will continue to have difficulty getting around.

A problem that, for Gabriel, is all too familiar and frustrating.

“I’m tired when I get to the bus stop because I also have asthma,” Gabriel said.

The residential plow will begin Thursday morning with a parking ban taking effect at 7 a.m.

The city reminds you to check your snow zone and find alternate parking if you leave your car on the street.

The parking ban will remain in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday, when crews plan to have residential streets cleared.

If you don’t move your car when your area needs to be plowed, you can expect to receive a ticket in the mail or potentially one on your windshield.

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