Some of you already know I hate winter – the cold, the snow, ice storms, blizzards, etc. However, it is what the City of Toronto road ploughs are doing with the snow that has got my consumer hackles up and running.
First of all, the bureaucrats can’t agree on who does what or what the procedure is supposed to be. All I know is what I saw and found. First, the sidewalk plough fellow is doing an excellent job and no complaints there. However, the person manipulating the road plough is another matter. Apparently side streets are unfair game for homeowners if what happened in the so-called clean-up after the big snow storm Toronto got hit with overnight Boxing Day and into Dec. 27 is any indication.
The street plough had done its job; I had shovelled my driveway, veranda, and cleared over the one catch basin still covered in a little bit of snowfall on the road at the end of my property. (There are two catch basins close together there). For those who don’t know, catch basins have to be kept visible with no leaves or other debris covering them in spring to fall. In winter it is the snow – otherwise there is a risk of overflow of water during a thaw or rainstorm and it could land in the basement. Even the City of Toronto advocates keeping the catch basins uncovered. Somebody forgot to send the memo to the road snow plough person or as I suspect, this guy is stupid/doesn’t care/lazy – take your pick.
Just after I finished my snow shovelling job, this plougher (for want of a better word) started pushing all the snow in the middle of the road over by the side of the street in front of my house and part of the neighbour’s. Not content with piling it three feet (almost a metre) high, he let it fall over onto the sidewalk, leaving about the equivalent in width for one human foot to get through. The fellow who shovels my snow took care of the sidewalk after the next snowfall but the dumped snow on the road was too heavy then for anyone to shovel manually.
So I phoned 311 – the number for all complaints, etc. for city work. Without going into a detailed harangue, here are the different stories I got from two 311 people (I phoned twice, so far), my councillor’s assistant and my councillor (my comments are in brackets):
- The supervisor for the department handling snow removal came to the site and took photos and said the contractor would be coming to remove the snow. Once the contractor is notified they come “soon” (“Soon” must be another four-letter word because it is now January 8 and no one has showed up to move the snow dump).
- The contractor is monitoring the situation but nothing more now (How? By invisible noise-free helicopter?).
- The City of Toronto looks after road and sidewalk ploughing but the snow removal is looked after by a contractor.
- The City of Toronto looks after sidewalk ploughing but a contractor looks after road ploughing and snow removal.
- The weather forecast calls for the possibility of a bit of rain tomorrow, but heavier rain is coming this weekend.
- Sunday it warmed up a little and about 8 inches of one catch basin was showing on the sidewalk side of the road. I managed to shovel a bit of it to make it a little larger but not by much and I couldn’t find the other catch basin and it was too hard to shovel through the snow dump. The height was still up to the top of my thighs.
- Today is sunny so after lunch I will go out and see if I can remove more snow but I suspect I will be phoning both 311 and my city councillor’s office yet again. This time I won’t be polite.
I don’t remember my parents having to put up with this nonsense. Dad shovelled the snow; the ploughs did their job with the road snow and that was that. I also don’t remember ever having water get in the basement from anything outside. My late mother used to say we were safe because our house (and the houses in the neighbourhood) stood on a hill. Well, my house is up high, too, and only a few miles from the house I grew up in.
Sometimes going back looks like the better option. Time machine anyone?
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes