The City of Penticton is looking to adjust some of the city’s bylaws, including the manner in which residents clear snow into the streets.
City clerk Cathy Ingram recommended council add snow and rubbish removal to a section in the city’s bylaws to disallow residents or business owners from shovelling snow or ice from their property or sidewalk onto city streets.
Ingram also proposed giving bylaw officers the ability to ticket residents for obstructing a peace officer “to ensure that staff have a tool for enforcement if the public impedes an employee engaged in performing city duties.”
Lastly, she recommended that council change the definition of what the municipality considers merchandise to provide both merchants and bylaw officers a more clear guideline as to what is permitted to be sold on city streets or sidewalks and what is not.
“The proposed amendments are just to provide clarity and to provide employees with the tools to enforce the city bylaws,” said Ingram.
However, some on council questioned where those with no room in front of their buildings could clear snow to.
“I live in a residential area where people have fences on the property. Where are they supposed to push the snow to?” asked Coun. Judy Sentes.
“Downtown buildings go right to the end of the sidewalk and the sidewalk goes to the edge of the curb. What are they supposed to do with the snow, particularly the amount that fell (last week)? I understand what the intent is here but I think the wording needs to be improved upon.”
But Mayor Dan Ashton said he trusts that the city’s staff have enough common sense to determine whether a resident or business has sufficient room to clear their sidewalk without using the streets.
He related a situation during the recent snowfall where an organization had pushed a roughly four-by-eight-foot snow pile into a well-used street. Had an accident occurred as a result of that snow pile, Ashton worried the city could have been sued.
“About two years ago we had a claim come in here where an individual came around the corner at that same location and hit it with her car and we were sued for it,” he said. “So I think what (the proposal) will do is if someone pushes a mound of snow into the streets … which may cause an incapacity to vehicle transport through there, that is one of the things we are looking at.”
The ideas were sent back to staff Monday for a change in wording.