Clearing of snow from trails and walkways considered at Mono Council

March 18, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Pete Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Following a request from Mono resident, Mr. Wally Ferrier to have the snow removed from the Fieldstone/Brookfield Walkway, Council requested Recreation Director Kim Heaton, to write a report outlining the associated costs and feasibility. Should Council decide to undertake this, these trails would have to be regularly inspected and maintained in compliance with the Minimum Maintenance Standards, for reasons of liability.

In surveying surrounding municipalities, it was found that Orangeville only clears walkways serving as a connecting link. They did more this winter due to COVID, but are uncertain if this will continue beyond the pandemic. The Town of Shelburne clears only those walkways which are connecting links to schools and no other municipalities in Dufferin County provide winter maintenance of trails and walkways. Both municipalities use the same standards for sidewalks.

Mono would have to purchase equipment to accommodate this maintenance work. Depending on what was chosen, the cost would be between $20,822 and $42,551. In addition, it is estimated that 10-man hours per week would be requires to complete the work. This work could be done by either the Recreation Maintenance staff, or by Public Works. Preference would be given to Public Works performing these tasks, as they are familiar with all the regulations and the Minimum Maintenance Standards. However, it was confirmed with the Director of Public Works that additional labour would need to be hired. The rough estimate of the labour involved was $12,000 for the winter season. Another option would be to hire an outside contractor, thus saving the purchase of equipment and the cost here would be $40,000 per year.

Council was advised that they had three options. Either have it done in-house, with the associated equipment costs, hire an outside contractor, or opt not to offer the service at this time.

Councillor Fred Nix was first to comment on the report and said that he was only in favour of the third option, which was to not clear the walkways.

Councillor Sharon Martin likewise opted to not do it and stated that she saw many residents out hiking and walking all winter. She also noted that they were a large cross section of both ages and physical abilities. Councillor Ralph Manktelow took the opposite approach to his two colleagues and fully supported clearing the walkways, arguing that there were residents who needed a flatter, snow free place to walk.

At this point, the Deputy Mayor, John Creelman opined that in his mind the addition of a sander in the equipment list was unnecessary. He felt that a five-foot blade was adequate for the job. This brought a response from the Director of Public works, Mike Dunmore, who explained that under the MMS guidelines this was not the case. Once plowed, a residue was always left behind and this often turned to ice and would require a traction element to be applied, in this case sand. He went on to explain that the roads and sidewalks in town are patrolled daily and decisions are made as to required maintenance.

In the end, Council voted to receive the report and move on, adding that this could be revisited during the 2022 budget discussions. Councillor Manktelow was the lone dissenting vote.

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