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Bes: Sidewalk Clearing is Your Civic Duty

Woodstock City Councillor Bill Bes believes you have a civic duty to shovel the sidewalk infront of your house. Bes believes the issue lies in the hands of the people to grab a shovel or snow blower and help out their neighbours. "You know, clearing the driveway and sidewalks is part of your civic duty. If we take that away as a responsibility for citizens, and we have a tough enough time to balance the budget, that this cost added on to the budget would be astronomical." But the only area where that actually rings true is downtown. The city does have a by-law that mandates downtown property owners clear the sidewalks of snow and ice between 10AM and 6PM. If they don't, they'll be warned first, and the city could end up removing it, and charge the owner for the cost. However, elsewhere in the city, the by-law doesn't apply. Bill Bes says there was no need for council to take a look at what more the city can do to clear sidewalks, because they already know what the answer is. "We don't need a study, because we know exactly that if we went to engineering or public works (to) investigate how much it will cost to purchase sidewalk snow blowers, plus the people involved. You know the amount it going to be astronomical." Bes, says when the snow hits, it's time for citizens to help each other by clearing the snow for elderly or disabled neighbours. "I see people helping each other out, and I think that usually the way we work. By-law has to take a look at people that say 'I don't have to do it', and I think we need to go after these people and say 'You know what, you do have a civic responsibility to look after this'." But after another heavy dumping of snow last night, many who rely on their own two feet to get them around the city are once again relegated to walking on the roadway. (In photo: Two teens take the to walking on busy Norwich Ave., rather than walk through the snow filled sidewalk)

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