A toothless bylaw is useless

Re: “City to get tough on shoveling,” February 23

The contemplated change of the bylaw to have city residents shovel snow “just like their business-owning counterparts” may only add to Nelsonites’ general perception: Too many bylaws — too little bylaw enforcement. Can’t you just see it?

Not all business owners — even downtown — have their part of the sidewalk shoveled by 11 a.m. — if at all. There are those who have habitually disregarded this bylaw for years. And never mind its purpose! There may be deep snow, then deep slush, then bumpy ice in ever-repeating cycles for long periods of time in front of one business because those who don’t shovel don’t have to. Meaning the bylaw has no teeth! 

The downtown focus of bylaw enforcement personnel seems to be on parking meters. 

If the city needs more money to run the show there is more to be made through enforcing the existing shoveling bylaw as is to begin with by handing out hefty fines to those who disregard it. 

Once that is generally known, adding a residential shoveling clause may have  some bite. 

Everybody knows of this bylaw; there should be no need for nudges. Nudging business owners does not work, neither does nudging bylaw-enforcement personnel! I have nudged! Realistically if this bylaw is not strictly enforced downtown — a relatively small and surely easily managed area — there may be even less managing in residential areas.

Of course, none of this would need to be an issue if – on the most elementary level we practiced cooperative and community whatever. 

As in being concerned with each other’s well-being. While this is not (yet) happening, we might make those who break this bylaw cooperate within the community indirectly by making them pay!

Claus Lao Schunke, Nelson