Plan to clear snow and ice from Mississauga driveways rejected by council

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Published May 4, 2023 at 11:53 am

Plan to clear snow and ice from Mississauga driveways rejected by council

An $11.6-million plan that would clear large, heavy walls of snow and ice from the vast majority of residential driveways in Mississauga has been turned down by City council.

The vote count at Wednesday’s (May 3) City of Mississauga council meeting was 7-5 against adopting the winter maintenance plan tabled by City staff that would have seen Mississauga become the fourth GTA municipality to provide city-wide windrow-clearing services.

Toronto, Vaughan and Richmond Hill are currently the only municipalities to do so. Mississauga is one of a half-dozen GTA municipalities that provides limited windrow services.

Winter may have left for a while, but Mississauga continues to grapple over what to do moving forward about windrows, the large, heavy walls of snow and ice left at the bottom of residents’ driveways after snow plows have cleared the street.

Mayor Bonnie Crombie and several councillors have said they fielded more windrow complaints from residents than ever before this past winter.

Citing huge costs, City council on several occasions over the years has given the thumbs down to plans that would clear the windrows across Mississauga.

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish, who voted in favour of the latest proposal, said adopting the city-wide windrow plan would’ve added $16 to the average property tax bill in 2024 (minimal increase in windrow service) and $28 in 2025, when the full service would be introduced.

The staff proposal would have expanded, by some degree, existing windrow clearing services next winter before rolling out a city-wide residential plan for winter 2024-25.

Currently, the City clears windrows for 350 eligible applicants, mostly seniors and/or those with accessibility challenges, within 36 hours of the end of a snowstorm.

The Mississauga-wide option tabled by staff would clear some 130,000 residential driveways within four to six hours after initial street plowing. That plan would require 223 pieces of additional winter maintenance equipment with specialized plow, staff said.

A city-wide plan would still not be able to clear the windrows left behind at townhome complexes and homes on cul-de-sacs due to limitations of the equipment, the City says.

Windrows have been a significant source of growing public frustration in recent years that hit new heights this past winter, culminating in several isolated incidents in which angry residents attacked Mississauga snow plow drivers and their machines.

While City councillors appear unified in doing something to improve the situation, especially for seniors and others who are less able to clear the heavy snow themselves, they cannot agree on an acceptable price tag.

A number of residents contacted Crombie and several councillors in the wake of late-winter storms earlier this year to let them know they’d be willing to pay more in taxes if it meant getting a windrow-clearing service.

Crombie and councillors have said that windrows are more than just a nuisance as they 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.

The mayor also spoke about the windrow issue earlier during an Instagram interview with insauga.com publisher Khaled Iwamura.

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