Municipal public works staff have had a tough time in recent weeks keeping our streets and sidewalks clear of snow, but they are receiving requests to do even more work of late.
Local resident John Willatt has asked the municipality to clear CK Transit bus stops around Chatham. In many places, these stops are nothing more than a sign on a hydro pole above a barrier of snow that separates the sidewalk from the roadway. In other spots, there is a small area in the snow where many boots have packed the snow over time.
“They are just bad everywhere. In some places, people are able to stand in someone’s driveway instead of the actual stops, and it seems the bus drivers are OK with that,” he said.
Don’t expect municipal staff to break out the shovels to clear the stops.
Miguel Pelletier, director of public works for the municipality, said there are about 500 bus stops around Chatham. To clear them of snow “would add up to a lot of work.
“For us to undertake clearing the bus stops, we’d need a mandate from council,” he said.
The company running the buses in Chatham, In Touch Connection, contracts out snow removal for the 30-odd bus shelters in Chatham, Pelletier said. The municipality clears the snow in the bus terminal on Centre and Wellington streets.
Willatt e-mailed administration asking the municipality to prioritize the clearing of the bus stops, but when nothing happened, he reached out to Chatham councillors and didn’t receive a single reply.
“I expected a reply along the lines of ,‘I’m shocked,’ ‘I’ll speak to administration,’ ‘we have to find funding,’” he said.
Pelletier said the municipal snow removal expenses fluctuate greatly from year to year, sometimes as low as $2 million, and other times upwards of $6.5 million. This year’s budget kicked in Jan. 1.