At the Jan. 13 Banff council meeting there were five councillors present and they discussed, among other things, providing more funding to the operations department.
This funding would have enabled the operations department to hire four seasonal employees to clear snow and ice to the pavement at 23 intersections and four crosswalks in the downtown core and surrounding area.
The five members of council who were present voted 3-2 to not to provide that additional funding.
At the Jan. 27 council meeting, I provided counter arguments to statements made by the three council members who voted against the motion to provide funding by quoting from an RMO story: “Move to expand snow and ice clearing at intersections loses on close vote.”
Mayor Karen Sorensen was quoted saying: “I feel horrible when we get complaints from people that we do a horrible job. I think we do the very best we can under the circumstances.”
Admittedly, salt is ineffective at those -20 C temperatures, but sand and gravel works extremely well at any temperature.
A friend of mine suffered a concussion when she exited the Bear Street Mall (a Town-managed facility). She fell and ended up in the Mineral Springs Hospital. I doubt that she would agree with the mayor either.
Councillor Peter Poole stated: “People should take some responsibility for walking safely by wearing cleats or carrying hiking poles …”
One of the mandates of any government is to protect humans when they do not do things they “should” do.
Councillor Brian Standish stated: “We could be clearing every single street down to the pavement. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”
I don’t believe that every single sidewalk and crosswalk needs to be cleared of ice and snow down to the pavement, but I do believe that every pedestrian expects that they will have a reasonable chance to walk from one side of the street to the other side without ending up in the hospital.
If council is still uncomfortable with hiring four seasonal workers then why not compromise – hire two?
Please provide the necessary funding to ensure that the sidewalks and crosswalks that the Town is responsible for are made safer for all pedestrians – residents, visitors and you.
Council did discuss this pedestrian safety issue, but did not vote on it.