The Municipality of Chatham-Kent is looking to the public to help meet provincial standards imposed for the winter maintenance of sidewalks throughout the municipality.
The municipality maintains more than 3,463 kilometres of roadways and 410 kms of sidewalks, bus stops, bridges, and pedestrian crossovers.
Last winter, responding to changes to the Ontario minimum maintenance standards (MMS) for sidewalks, Chatham-Kent administration requested the assistance of property owners to voluntarily add de-icing chemicals, such as salt, to treat slippery areas on the municipal sidewalks abutting their properties.
However, this winter the municipality is taking a different approach. In the winter, downtown cores are cleared by the municipality when snow accumulation is greater than 7.5 centimetres and anti-icing material is spread to prevent slips and falls within 24 hours. Maps of downtown areas can be found on the municipal website.
In all areas other than downtown, the sidewalk is plowed by the municipality when snow accumulation is greater than 8 cm within 48 hours after snow has stopped falling, according to a new bylaw, and property owners will be now be required to de-ice (salt) sidewalks fronting their homes or businesses within 24 hours after ice is formed and within 24 hours of the municipality releasing a notice that there is a substantial probability that ice will form.
In the event of a substantial probability of ice formation is in the immediate forecast, such as freezing rain, the public works department will issue a media release, post a notice on social media and post on the municipal website, to inform the public that pre- treatment of sidewalks with salt is required.
If property owners/occupants ignore these salting requirements, municipal officials said bylaw enforcement officers can issue a ticket and order owners/occupants to treat the sidewalk. If owners/occupants do not comply with the order, the municipality may call in a contractor to do the job, with the bill charged back to the property owner.
A list of set fines and fees can be found on the municipal website.
“This winter, we encourage citizens to work closely with neighbors to find common solution. Simple actions, such as salting the sidewalks in front of your home, and your neighbours’ home, improves mobility for everyone,” said Ryan Brown, Director of Public Works, in a media release. “Winter can be challenging, but as a community, we can work together to ensure the safety of our sidewalks, and make winter in Chatham-Kent a little less stressful for us all.”