Sunday, June 16, 2024

Thoughts on Snow Removal From Our Rural Roads

Letter to the Editor

Editor,

Back 40 plus years ago we lived between Annan and Balaclava. Here is the snow removal situation at that time as I recall it (thus making room for the possibility of false memories).

The equipment consisted of a fully-loaded red gravel truck with a V-blade mounted on the front of it and a road grader. Roads were plowed morning and night five days a week for the school buses making it somewhat important to live on a school bus route. Other than that it was hit and miss dependent on availability of snowplow operators. There was little to no snowplowing on the weekends. Even at that, one had to be careful. When it started to “blow”, Bev Flanagan, who lived across the road and worked for Bell, would head for town and stay at his mother’s house. If an ambulance was called, the snowplow would go ahead of it to clear the road if necessary. This level of service contributed to the low-tax environment that existed at that time. The Sydenham Secessionists probably hardly want to return to those days.

Moving forward to today, we have many more people living up and down our country roads. They too could get by with less service and they know it. Their protestations are merely a form of bargaining. Potentially the value of their properties could be reduced because potential buyers might be scared off by the possibility of being “snowed-in”. That would suggest their taxes should be lowered along with the level of snowplowing. Establishing property value of course is beyond the influence of the Municipality.

One thing is for sure. More people will be attracted to living in the country as long as snowplowing remains at its current high standard. In the long run this is not good for the environment and at least from that point of view should be discouraged. To be fair to everyone (and every thing) I would suggest a ten year plan of ratcheting back levels of service. This will give current residents a chance to adjust and will provide potential new owners a fair warning.

Bill Moses, Meaford

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