The Village of Ashcroft says that it deals with bylaw infractions on a complaint basis. On Dec. 30, 2020, three days after a second snowfall in the community, I wrote a letter, including photos taken that afternoon, to mayor and council and lodged a complaint with respect to the properties from the corner of 3rd Street on Railway Avenue to the Post Office failing to remove snow in a timely manner.
Snow had also not been removed after the first snowfall on Dec. 21, 2020. Pursuant to Bylaw No. 753, Snow Removal: “It is unlawful for any person to permit any accumulation of snow or ice to remain upon any sidewalk in front of or abutting any premises owned or occupied by him/her after ten o’clock in any morning of any day.”
My concern was dismissed at the Jan. 11, 2021 council meeting, not even put on as an agenda item for discussion, and was declared an “operations” concern. Obviously, operations had not dealt with the concern, as the snow remained until mild temperatures eventually cleared the sidewalk of the accumulated ice and snow a week after I had submitted my letter.
This was not the first time that these commercial properties had not cleared their snow and this was not the first time that I asked the village to take responsibility and clear the snow, bill the owners, and charge them as per the penalty stipulated in the bylaw each time such an infraction occurs. This action of having the village clear the snow should be immediate, as should the enforcement of the bylaw penalty. It is unfair for other property owners in the downtown core to abide by the rules and see no consequences for those who choose not to follow the rules. In fact, it sets a very poor precedent. I find it particularly disturbing that both the property owners are well known in the community and have the necessary means to do the snow removal.
This is the busiest stretch of the downtown core. The safety of many citizens is repeatedly at risk. The council has openly stated that they are very concerned about the safety of its citizens, particularly when it comes to pedestrian issues. I find it hypocritical, to say the least, that the village doesn’t take immediate action on such an obvious safety concern to the people who walk or use their scooter to get around.
Editor’s note: At the Jan. 11 council meeting this question was asked during the “Public Input” section at the start of the meeting; the answer was “Complaints in regard to operational items are generally not placed on the agenda. [The] complaint was received, letters were sent to the property owners, public works has been advised to monitor that particular section of sidewalk, further action will be taken if necessary.”