Friday, 14 August 2009

Aug 14/09 to Mayor & Council

Mayor Linda Thompson and Councillors
Municipality of Port Hope

Ladies and Gentlemen:

Re: Winter safety issues arising from inadequate snow clearing on Wellington Street sidewalks

The time to fix the roof, they say, is when the sun is shining. Now is the time to address a winter safety issue that affects the residents of Wellington Heights, which is my neighborhood in Port Hope.

Last winter, in several messages (two sent to Councillor David Turck and two sent to Director Peter Angelo, with copies to Councillor Turck) I highlighted conditions and suggested remedies to a problem affecting the safety of people who use the sidewalks of Wellington Street. A copy of my final message to Mr. Angelo, complete with photographs of Wellington Street sidewalks, is shown below. For an understanding of the matter, I ask that you either read this message or view the entire correspondence, which I posted online to my Wellington Heights blog.

In that message, I summarized my suggested remedy to Mr. Angelo as follows:

1) that your staff use whatever methods necessary to remove the piles of snow currently blocking the Wellington Street sidewalk at these locations;
2) that you work with the owners and managers of Wellington Street apartment buildings to ensure that sidewalks remain unblocked for the rest of this winter.


Last winter was difficult for people attempting to keep their sidewalks clear of snow. It was difficult for the residents of Rosevear Boulevard, where I was living at the time. It was difficult for the owners and managers of apartment buildings on Wellington Street. In one of his messages to me, Mr. Angelo expressed his determination to meet and work with the managers and owners of Wellington Street apartment buildings to resolve the problems. Those problems weren't successfully resolved last winter; I am hoping that some proactive efforts now will prevent them from recurring during the winter to come.

Thank you for considering my request about this public safety issue.

Feb 04/09 Photos of Snowy Sidewalks

These photographs were attached to a message sent Feb 04/09 to Peter Angelo in support of concerns for the safety of people using sidewlks on Wellington Street.

Sidewalk at 48 Wellington Street

48 Wellington Street - 1
48 Wellington Street - 2
48 Wellington Street - 3
48 Wellington Street - 4

Sidewalk at 50 Wellington Street

50 Wellington Street - 1

50 Wellington Street - 2

50 Wellington Street - 3

50 Wellington Street - 4

Feb 04/09 to Peter Angelo

Mr. Peter Angelo, P.Eng.
Director of Engineering Services
Municipality of Port Hope

Re: Snow Clearing -- Wellington Street Sidewalks

Good afternoon Mr. Angelo:

This has been quite a winter. You and your staff have been taxed to the limit and beyond by the very snowy weather. Even so, I am doing as you suggested in your timely response to my previous message and restating my concerns for public safety with respect to the sidewalks on Wellington Street.

Below is a summary of the concerns that I stated in my message, sent January 18, 2009

The process of plowing driveways at apartment buildings along the west side of Wellington Street results in the piling of snow directly on the sidewalk. As of Sunday morning, January 18, this was the situation:

- apartment at 50 Wellington: sidewalk completely blocked by a snow pile at the end of the driveway;
- apartment just south of 50: sidewalk in front of the building partially or completely covered by a snow pile;
- apartment at 16/18 Wellington: sidewalk completely blocked by a snow pile at the end of the driveway.

The snow piles at these locations are high and hard packed and iced. They need to be removed, but that removal appears to require mechanical equipment.


I want to report to you the situation as it was about noon today:

- apartment at 50 Wellington: the sidewalk remains completely blocked by snow piled at the end of the driveway;
- apartment at 48 Wellington: the sidewalk in front of the building is completely covered by a snow pile.


These two problems, both of which have existed since mid-December, have gotten worse with each snowfall and each snow plowing. Attached are 8 photographs, taken early this afternoon, that show the extent to which the sidewalks at 48 and 50 Wellington Street are covered and blocked. [NB. photographs are shown in a separate post to the Wellington Heights blog.]

In my previous message I requested of you, in the interest of public safety, these two things:

1) that your staff use whatever methods necessary to remove the piles of snow currently blocking the Wellington Street sidewalk at these locations;
2) that you work with the owners and managers of Wellington Street apartment buildings to ensure that sidewalks remain unblocked for the rest of this winter.


Obviously, you and your staff have not been able to deal with this matter:

1) They have not removed the piles of snow that have been blocking the sidewalks for many weeks at 48 and 50 Wellington Street;
2) You have not been successful in convincing the owners and managers of these two apartment buildings to keep their sidewalks unblocked.

I had thought that you were prevented from dealing with these problems by the necessity of attending to the great amount of snow that has fallen in December and January. However, this morning I received a letter from Tara Archambault, which stated the following:

The areas of concern noted in your correspondence have been investigated by staff and appropriate recourse has been implemented to ensure that By Law 52/97 is complied with.

Is Ms. Archambault trying to tell me, in some strange, coded language, that you have no authority to act as I have requested on behalf of the safety of the dozens of families and the many dozens of children who daily must walk in the street to circumvent the snow dumped on Wellington Street sidewalks? If not that, then what exactly is Ms. Archambault saying?

Regards for a snow-free February,

Jan 19/09 from Peter Angelo

Thank you William. I have asked my staff to investigate the matter and to resolve with the adjacent owners as appropriate.

Please do not hesitate to call me should you have any questions or concerns.

Jan 18/09 to Peter Angelo

Mr. Peter Angelo, P.Eng.
Director of Engineering Services
Municipality of Port Hope

Re: Snow Clearing -- Wellington Street Sidewalks

Thank you for your commitment, in the interest of public safety, to work with HBIA members to ensure that sidewalks in the downtown area are cleared of ice and snow. Councillor David Turck said that I might contact you directly with concerns about having snow cleared from sidewalks in my own neighborhood, which I call Wellington Heights.

The backbone of my neighborhood is Wellington Street itself, which has a sidewalk on only one side of the street. My concern is with respect to the sidewalk on the west side of Wellington from my own street, Rosevear Boulevard, south to the Medical Centre.

For the most part, residents and property managers do a good job of clearing this sidewalk. The work is tiresome, but necessary, because this stretch of Wellington Street is home to many families, many of which have children. I myself spend time helping with the effort to keep this sidewalk clear.

However, the process of plowing driveways at apartment buildings along this stretch of Wellington Street results in the piling of snow directly on the sidewalk. As of Sunday morning, January 18, this was the situation:

- apartment at 50 Wellington: sidewalk completely blocked by a snow pile at the end of the driveway;
- apartment just south of 50: sidewalk in front of the building partially or completely covered by a snow pile;
- apartment at 16/18 Wellington: sidewalk completely blocked by a snow pile at the end of the driveway.

The snow piles at these locations are high and hard packed and iced. They need to be removed, but that removal appears to require mechanical equipment.

I am writing to request, in the interest of public safety, two things:

1) that your staff use whatever methods necessary to remove the piles of snow currently blocking the Wellington Street sidewalk at these locations;
2) that you work with the owners and managers of Wellington Street apartment buildings to ensure that sidewalks remain unblocked for the rest of this winter.

Thank you for your help with this concern. Because of his own interest in this matter, I am sending a copy of this message to Councillor Turck.

Jan 14/09 to Coun. David Turck

David Turck, Councillor
Municipality of Port Hope

Re: Snowy Sidewalks

Thank you, Mr. Turck, for responding to my message. I appreciate that you and your colleagues on Council and that Peter Angelo and his staff are busy every day, all day with duties essential to the proper working of the municipality.

Allow me to express this one thought:

- the enactment of a bylaw respecting snow clearing is not new this year;
- the discussion of its application at Council is not new this year;
- the discussion of the problem in letters to the local gazette is not new this year;
- all of these matters are years old;
- it is, therefore, long past the time when what is needed sending letters to business or building owners.

With respect, Councillor Turck, it seems to me that what is needed is for the Council and/or the Mayor to direct Mr. Angelo, clearly and distinctly, to do whatever is necessary to "make it happen." As a last resort, it is not you who needs to get a shovel and clear the sidewalk, but Mr. Angelo.

As a final thought, it seems to me that if other sidewalks on Walton Street are cleaned on or about 9 AM in the morning, then the sidewalks in front of the former Walton Hotel and the former Plummer's Drugstore ought to be cleaned on or about the same time.

Thank you so very much for your help with and attention to this matter.

Best regards to you in the new year,

Jan 13/09 from David Turck

Thank you for your email and I was in a meeting with mr. Angelo yesterday and passed it on for his attention. Mr. Angelo department as per our cow meeting last week will be issuing letters to the vacant storefront building owners advising them as per the bylaw they have now received their warning and if their sidewalks are not cleared as per the bylaw the municipality will clear them and charge their tax bills.
Households have 48 hrs. And then you can contact mr. Angelo dept. To report and start the process.

David turck

Jan 12/09 - to Councillor David Turck

David Turck, Councillor
Municipality of Port Hope


Thank you for expressing support for cleaner, safer sidewalks in Port Hope.

I must say, the response of Director Peter Angelo to your recent complaint about snow-covered sidewalks, at it was reported in the Northumberland News, leaves me shaking my head. Really, is there nothing to be done but send letters to HBIA business owners?

A neighbor on Rosevear Boulevard was told that town staff discontinued sanding slippery downtown sidewalks because of complaints by HBIA business owners, who objected to having sand carried into their stores on the shoes of pedestrians. Apparently the HBIA insisted that it would see that the sidewalks were adequately cleared. That obviously is not happening.

Clearly, Mr. Angelo's staff are not up to the job of ensuring compliance with the snow-clearing bylaw. Something more effective needs to be done, not only downtown, but throughout Ward 1 of the Municipality. However, if Council cannot ensure compliance in the downtown shopping area, there is not any hope for compliance elsewhere.

Please continue your efforts to ensure public safety on our sidewalks this winter.