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This article was published 21/3/2018 (1353 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
When Brian Koldyk stepped out his back door Saturday morning, he found a metre-high ice ridge that had mysteriously materialized overnight and now lined the back edge of his property.
He soon saw many of his neighbours on the 400 block of Waterloo Street were about to make the same discovery. It didn’t take long for Koldyk, 61, to figure out what had happened.
"The city had a front-end loader come down the back lane Friday. The bucket collects the snow for maybe the first 25 per cent of the back lane. But once the truck’s bucket is filled up, the snow just starts rolling off the sides," he said
"By the time they’re done, it’s just a mess. And by the time I noticed the next day, it was already frozen."
Koldyk said he contacted 311 on Saturday morning, leaving messages online and over the phone, but he didn’t hear back. Eventually he was able to get in touch with a city administrator, who said they would have an employee visit to take a look Monday.
"The guy told me, ‘It’s not in (the city’s) policy to remove those ridges. You’re going to have to do that yourself.’ I thought that was an incredible slight. Obviously whoever did this, whether the city or a contractor, didn’t do their job. Now the city pushes the issue back onto the resident," Koldyk said.
"It’s honestly so frozen. It would nearly be physically impossible to do it by hand. I watched my neighbour struggle for hours with an axe, trying to clear it.
"I pay taxes to have access to the streets, heavy taxes in River Heights. And I pay taxes to have the back lane cleared. All they’ve done here is push the snow from the centre of the lane to the side, blocking entrance and egress. And not only do I have to pay them to do that, I now how to pay someone to fix it."
When contacted by the Free Press, a city spokeswoman echoed what the city employee told Koldyk on Monday. She said, as per a policy approved by city council, the clearing of windrows created from back lane plowing operations is a responsibility that falls to the homeowner.
In Koldyk’s opinion, the city’s policy is reasonable, assuming the windrow left by crews is manageable for residents to deal with. But when it comes to a snow pile as large as the one pushed up against his back lane and left to freeze, the responsibility should fall to the city. Either that, or they need better oversight to ensure crews are properly doing the job they’re paid for, he said.
"We’ve certainly witnessed this sort of thing frequently in our neighbourhood. Either the city needs to change the policy, or the city or contractor needs to step up and take responsibility for the fact that whoever did this was negligent and didn’t do a good job," Koldyk said.
Thanks to that ice ridge, Koldyk said, it’s been impossible for his wife to remove her car from their garage. They’re worried even trying to get the car over the ridge would damage to the vehicle.
Koldyk drives a truck, so he was able to maneuver his vehicle out of the back parking lane. Since then, he has been parking on the street instead.
"I managed to squeeze out my vehicle by jiggling and juggling, going around the corner of the ridge. I have a truck, but still almost wrecked the undercarriage, the running boards, when I went over the sides of the ridge," he said.
"It’s just gross mismanagement in my opinion. A waste of taxpayer dollars."
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.