Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Shovel your own Snow!

Recently a merchant in downtown Newmarket complained to the local paper about the snow removal from Main Street in Newmarket. Patricia Carmichael, of Carmichael Salon and Day Spa, has complained that the town plows the snow from main street to the side of the road and creates a big wall of snow her clients have to climb over to access her store.  Ms. Carmichael believes the town should be digging out access points every so often for customers of main street to park their cars on the side of the street and then climb through the snow banks to the shops.  She herself has hired a contractor to do this type of service for her particular store but she still wishes the Town of Newmarket would do this service.  The paper even interviewed a 75 year old lady about the issue to paint the "wo is me" type mentality into the article about how it is hard for her to get the to merchants.   The town replied that they do not provide the service but does remove excess snow when the banks get high and when time permits.

It seams Ms. Carmichael misses the point.  Government (Town of Newmarket in this case) cannot do everything for all people.  The town currently plows the streets and the sidewalks in Newmarket and the snow from these operations must go somewhere, hence the walls.  To create the access points the town would have to pay additionally to have the contractor return and, depending on the circumstance, hand dig or plow out the access points.  This added cost would have to either be born by the entire town's taxpayers or by just the merchants on Main Street through a local improvement tax.  The local improvement tax would be calculated by the town on how much it costs to provide the service of creating the access points.  So Ms. Carmichael basically wants the town to pay for the cost and, thus, either pass on the cost to all taxpayers for her special perk or burden the businesses of Main Street in Newmarket with the cost via a local improvement tax.

The same two methods could be completed for those who live the new townhouse areas that have on street parking.  Along Bantry Avenue in Richmond Hill between Yonge Street and Bayview Avenue residents periodically dig out pathways between the sidewalk and the street across the boulevard so they can access their cars parked on the side of the road.  Should the Town of Richmond Hill be doing this service? If Ms. Carmichael is successful in getting the Town of Newmarket to create and pay for the creation of the access points, shouldn't the residents in the townhouses who want similar access points also have the right to the same service?  Wouldn't this just increase property taxes overall?

There is another way to resolve the issue of course.  Ms. Carmichael could do the work herself.  She could, shudder the thought, walk outside, grab the shovel and shovel the snow to a width of her snow shovel!  Oh for crying out loud! We can't have that, Ms. Carmichael might chip a nail!  This method would ensure that the Town doesn't get dinged with this expense and Ms. Carmichael could assist in resolving the issue.  This method is what the merchants on Yonge Street in Downtown Aurora use as well.  Heck, some merchants even shovel the entire sidewalk in front of their stores before the snow removal contractors from the Town of Aurora come by.  Imagine that, taking initiative and assist in resolving the issue and not depending on the government for assistance.

Ms. Carmichael grab a shovel or hire someone to do it for you!  The Town of Newmarket doesn't need to clear your snow.  Shovel your own Snow.


  1. It is really amazing to see adults not knowing what to do when snow covers their sidewalk. The idea of shovelling it themselves is rarely on the list.

    In Calgary, the city advertised "Snow Angels" in the winter, which is a program where they encourage you to shovel for your neighbours who aren't able to themselves. Its only cost is advertising and the best part is that it works.

  2. Daley:

    Aurora & Newmarket currently have sidewalk snowplows that come by and clean the sidewalk. However, they create large snowbanks in the old downtown areas where the sidewalk abuts the street. Hence why they get so high.

    This lady obviously can handle shovelling as she does have a shovel in her hand on the Yorkregion.com photo. But she seems to be a little whiny when it comes to actually creating a small access point to the street by cleaning out a portion of the bank. It would take less than five minutes tops to complete this task.

    As for the "Snow Angels". Aurora and Newmarket have this service as well through the Neighbourhood Network (a volunteer organization that matches volunteers to organizations looking for volunteers).


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