The City of Moose Jaw has been covered in white after consistent snow over the past month, which has caused residents to get their shovels out more than they probably would like to.
Crews are currently cleaning up and hauling the snow away from city streets and in front of downtown businesses, making things a little less jam-packed.
The question remains, as to whose responsibility it is to clear sidewalks and storefronts following a storm, the city? Or business owners?
The answer to that question lies within the City of Moose Jaw’s Clean Sidewalks Bylaw.
“Business owners downtown in the commercial district are responsible for the areas in front of their business and to clear the snow within 48 hours of a snow event,” says City of Moose Jaw Communications Manager, Craig Hemingway.
“Anything that would be considered their property line, they would have to clear in front of anything designated as their property.”
When it comes to metered parking in front of businesses, that clean-up responsibility falls on the city and will be cleared, as per their Snow Clearing Priority Mapping System.
The snow that has been shovelled cannot be piled around parking metres, lamp posts, bus stop benches, sign posts, etc.
The Bylaw also states that business owners must sweep and clean their sidewalks before 9:00 a.m. in the winter and before 8:30 a.m. at all other times, except when removal of a heavy fall of snow is required.
If the rules mentioned in the Bylaw are not met then officers will issue a Clean Sidewalk Notice to the owner or occupant. The notice will either provide a statement of the work that needs to be performed in a 48-hour time frame or failure to comply will result in the city having the work performed.
Following those notices, officers may issue a fine. The first offence will cost you $100, $200 for the second offence, and $300 for the third offence.
“We don’t like to get to that point and I think our business owners have done a great job being responsible for that snow removal. It’s been a lot for them, just like it’s been a lot for our crews. It’s been a very active late fall for business owners.”
When it comes to clearing snow on sidewalks in front of residential properties, some cities in Canada give out fines, but in Moose Jaw those areas are not included in their Clean Sidewalk Bylaw.
Hemingway says that all they do is ask the residential property owners to be “Notoriously Good Neighbours” and clean their sidewalks following a snow event.
“There are still many people who still like to go out and walk whether it’s themselves or walk their animals in the winter time and having a clear sidewalk is very important to ensure that can still happen.”
“Most residents do a fantastic job of that and not only their snow but they will help their neighbours with deluxe snow clearing.”
Hemingway concluded by asking residents when they are clearing snow to place it back onto their property, and not shovel it onto their neighbours lawns or onto city streets.