Mobility-challenged Nanaimo man asks for better effort clearing sidewalks

WatchA Nanaimo man says many sidewalks, or the access to them, haven't been cleared making life extra challenging for the mobility-challenged. Kendall Hanson has the story.

Tim Kerfoot struggled to get to work again on Tuesday morning because of all the uncleared snow and ice.

“It’s challenging,” he told CHEK News.

Kerfoot requires the use of a wheelchair and with so much snow uncleared from the parking lot area of his home as well as on the sidewalks, getting to work has been a challenge.

“Local bylaws require sidewalk clearance which some property management and owners are complying with but not always to provide the access onto the sidewalk which I would require to not [have to] wheel down the middle of the road,” said Kerfoot.

Thankfully a neighbour was there to help out today.

Kerfoot says he’s made calls to the property management company that runs the parking lot at his Applecross Road home days ago. However, the parking lot still has a lot of snow and ice on it and the sidewalks look as though they haven’t been touched.

“If you’re in a wheelchair you’re probably the only one mindful of the access onto the sidewalk. A lot of sidewalks between here and my work at Cabela’s are clear but to get onto that sidewalk the access isn’t,” said Kerfoot.

Kerfoot says he’s waited up to two and a half hours for the only wheelchair-accessible taxi van in recent days.

The city bylaw states property owners are supposed to clear their sidewalks by 10 am the morning after a snowfall but it’s clear many are not creating treacherous conditions.

“They’re atrocious. It’s a safety hazard. I mean it’s just ridiculous,” said Ralph Burgess, a Nanaimo resident.

Uncleared sidewalks after snowstorms have been a concern for Nanaimo pedestrians for years.

Darcy Ambler, a pedestrian advocate, says it doesn’t need to be this way.

“I know that it is possible not to bury the sidewalk and that’s all I ask,” said Ambler.

Ambler has written to city hall numerous times requesting snowplow operators slow down when clearing roads to avoid all the snow being thrown back on the sidewalk.

Darcy Ambler says this change could help pedestrians a lot and wouldn’t deter property owners from clearing their sidewalks.

But Nanaimo’s mayor says timing can be crucial.

“City crews make an effort the best they can, keeping in mind that they have a job to do which is keeping routes open for emergency vehicles, for ambulances, for fire trucks for police as necessary,” said Leonard Krog. “We have to keep our transportation system safe for the basics during these crisis times.”

Krog notes bylaw enforcement is complaint-driven.

As for Kerfoot, he’s urging people to think about those who have mobility challenges and fully clear their sidewalks.

He’s also calling on property management companies to be better.

“There are management companies that are responsible for these things and it’s sad to see that they’re not doing anything about it,” said Kerfoot.

CHEK’s calls to Devon Properties were not returned before our deadline for this story.

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Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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