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LETTER: Slipping on sidewalks

From reader Tobias Jenny
Nelson, B.C. Photo: Bill Metcalfe

Re: Sidewalks slip down the priority list in Nelson’s new city snow and ice policy, Dec. 14

I am dismayed after reading that the Nelson City council steadfastly sticks to the “same old, same old” when it comes to snow removal priorities. I would like to urge everyone to Google the article entitled Why Sweden Clears Snow Covered Walkways Before Roads.

The Swedish approach was the result of creating better gender equality, because there more women walked to work than men. I do not know how the statistics are here in Nelson, but they could be similar. When it comes to snow removal, I see discrimination in Nelson also on a different level, i.e. against pedestrians who are a minority too often ignored by the city counsellors with the apparent exception of Keith Page, who often stands out as a lonely voice of reason.

Of course, our sidewalks should always be cleared, because we have a traffic bylaw that ensures accessibility for pedestrians. This bylaw could be enforced as it is in places like Banff. Elderly people and others who could not clear their sidewalks have to either hire someone or rely on their neighbours to avoid fines. If I would slip on an uncleared sidewalk, I would hold the City of Nelson responsible for consistently not enforcing their traffic bylaws.

The above mentioned article shows how things could be done differently at no extra cost and to the benefit of all people of Nelson. The city would not have to engage a slew of consultants to come up with a workable solution. There are enough intelligent people on the council (and maybe even in management?) to turn the priorities around for the benefit of all. I just hope there is the will and courage to finally get out of the habit to stick to the perpetual “same old.”

Tobias Jenny,

Senior pedestrian,