Mississauga residents might pay more taxes to have heavy snow, ice cleared: Councillors


Published March 8, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Mississauga residents might be willing to pay more in taxes if it means City workers will clear the large, heavy walls of snow and ice left at the bottom of their driveways after snow plows clear the street.

That’s the belief of Mayor Bonnie Crombie and at least one councillor who spoke to the matter earlier today (March 8) at the City of Mississauga’s meeting of general committee.

They noted they’re receiving numerous complaints from residents who cannot clear their driveways.

More than just a nuisance, the heavily-packed deposits of snow and ice, known as windrows, can keep residents with limited mobility, including many seniors and people with disabilities, cooped up in their homes and unable to get their cars out of the driveway.

Ward 11 Councillor Brad Butt told his colleagues he received an email from one resident who said, simply, “Raise my taxes. Just get this stuff off the end of my driveway.”

Butt said he’s aware previous City councils have discussed windrows and what, specifically, if anything, to do about them.

He added he doesn’t know if the time is right for council to revisit the matter, but “that last storm was particularly bad because of the amount of ice and really solid, end-of-driveway and sometimes sidewalk snow that there’s no way residents can possibly be in a position to remove that.”

Butt said even snow blowers aren’t equipped to get rid of the heavy chunks of ice and snow, leaving many people trapped.

“A lot of people were simply not able to get out of their driveways or walkways for many days and still we’re not going to get any thawing this week. either, and there are still people not able to get their car out of their driveway for five days now.”

Crombie said she’s never received more complaints about windrows, adding “…they’re sending me videos of what this wall of ice at the end of their driveway looks like…and it’s nothing anyone’s going to shovel or a snow blower is going to remove.”

The mayor added that she responded to one resident in particular, telling them that for the City to acquire the necessary equipment to deal with windrows would mean a tax hike of one to one-and-a-half per cent.

“And they wrote back that they thought it might be worth it,” said Crombie. “So, it’s something to look at.”

Crombie also noted that, “Other municipalities, I understand, are…not having the same effect with their snow plowing, so I think it’s time we sit down and look at new equipment again and what it might cost.

“Other municipalities are getting this done.”

Ward 6 Councillor Joe Horneck added to the discussion, noting that windrows are a growing problem due, in part, to an aging population.

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish provided some historical context in cautioning her colleagues that it’s easy to talk about raising taxes now to deal with windrows, but “might I remind everyone that we always step back from this during budget time.”

She added when budget talks come around, “…we all hear how much it will cost, then say ‘Oh my God!'”

Geoff Wright, the City’s transportation and works commissioner, said staff will revisit the matter of windrows and come back to council with a report.

He added that to get the needed equipment could cost the City as much as $15 million or more, and it wouldn’t be in place until the fall/winter of 2024.

Crombie also spoke about the windrow issue earlier in the week during an Instagram interview with insauga.com publisher Khaled Iwamura.

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