City sidewalks, pretty sidewalks

Well, today was a shoveling day for this Haligonian.  I chose to clear my own sidewalk, rather than allow the contractors working for the city to do it.  These are the reasons:

1)  Weather event one:  A fairly minor freezing rain event which left a thin sheen of ice on every surface.  Nothing like the latest ice storm that hit Ontario-East, but enough to make the sidewalks very slippery.  No salt was deployed by these contractors.  Anywhere.  That was a fun walk to work.

2) Weather event two:  A major snowfall (30ish cm) followed by a lot of rain, and then followed by a plunge in temperatures to the land of deep-freeze.  The contractors working for the city actually got their equipment out for this one.  They either didn’t have the right equipment, or didn’t know how to use it.  The wet snow was not cleared to the base of the sidewalks, but was rather compacted down under the equipment, leaving a frozen mass about 2-3 cm thick on all of the sidewalks.  This ice, which I referred to as the city-wide luge training facility, was not salted nor sanded, and persisted for about a week.  That was a fun series of walks to the bus stop.  Which is on a hill, at one of the steepest parts of the luge track.  Did I mention no salt or sand was put down?

3) Weather event three: More of the same.  This just added to the fun.

Which brings us to today, and weather even four.  I cleared my own sidewalk today.  Down to the concrete.  The snow was easy to move…there was only about 10 cm of it, and it was just a little mushy on the bottom, which suited the plow-style shovel just fine.  I was tempted to put a sign up in front of it for the contractors, saying “Don’t you dare!  You’ll just ruin it!”, but I had to go to work.  I’m glad I cleared my sidewalk, because the on the walk to work, I noticed that the contractors have once again left a 2-3 cm base of compacted wet snow and/or slush on the sidewalks they’ve gotten to, rather than clearing to the base of the sidewalk, as stipulated in their contract.  If our temperatures were dipping into the deep freeze again, we would be enjoying the luge training facility for another week or more.

Somebody either fire these jokers or get them trained up on how to do the job correctly.  I can’t imagine how much their incompetence is going to cost the city of Halifax, because if I injured myself on a salt- and sand-free luge track sidewalk 3 days after a weather event, I know I’d be looking for someone to sue.

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