Shovelling sidewalks a bylaw priority

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Norfolk County is stepping up enforcement of the municipality’s snow removal bylaw.

Effective immediately, property owners and residents who are asked to clear snow and ice from sidewalks adjacent to them will have 24 hours to comply.

If the sidewalk remains impeded the following day, a contractor will be called to resolve the matter and the cost will be applied against the property’s tax bill. Those deemed responsible for the sidewalk could also receive a ticket for $105.

“For any repeat offenders, contractors will be brought in immediately without further orders,” county solicitor Paula Boutis, Norfolk’s general manager of development and cultural services, says in a note to Norfolk council. “Where a serious safety or accessibility issue presents, contractors will also be immediately contracted to clear the hazard. Tickets may also be issued.”

Under the previous enforcement regimen, Norfolk’s bylaw office would mail a request to clear snow and ice and then follow-up a week later.

The first full year of stepped-up enforcement begins next fall. The community should expect to see reminders from the county of its obligations under Snow and Ice Removal Bylaw 2002-259 on the eve of forecasted snow storms.

“Known prior offenders within our data base will be sent specific reminder notices in the fall,” Boutis added.

Previous councils in Norfolk have explored the possibility of assuming responsibility for clearing all sidewalks of snow and ice within the county’s urban boundaries. Previous councils did not act after receiving estimates this would add more than $500,000 a year to Norfolk’s winter control budget.

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