Plans to clear snow at the end of driveways growing momentum in Mississauga


Published March 20, 2023 at 4:51 pm

Windrows snow at the end of driveways Mississauga

Momentum seems to be growing at Mississauga City Hall for a winter plan that would clear away the large, heavy walls of snow and ice left at the bottom of residents’ driveways after snow plows clear the street.

The large wintry deposits, known as windrows, have been a significant source of public frustration in recent years that hit new heights this past winter, culminating in several isolated incidents two weeks ago in which angry residents attacked Mississauga snow plow drivers and their machines.

While City of Mississauga 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, relief for residents might not come in time for next winter.

City staff directed to look at the matter and report back to council say in a best-case scenario that they might not have a windrow-clearing plan in place until winter 2024/25.

Geoff Wright, the City’s transportation and works commissioner, added at a recent general committee meeting that getting the needed equipment could cost the City as much as $15 million or more.

A number of residents have contacted Mayor Bonnie Crombie and several councillors, particularly in the wake of the last couple of winter storms, to let them know they’d be willing to pay more in taxes if it meant getting a windrow-clearing service.

Crombie and councillors say that the 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.

Ward 5 Councillor Carolyn Parrish noted via Twitter last Friday that windrows can be “dangerous for seniors to deal with.”

She added that budget deliberations take place this coming fall and “this year we need to add windrow clearance” to the areas that will be improved via investments from City coffers.

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

Crombie said at a recent meeting that 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.”

Parrish also provided some historical context at a recent meeting 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!'”

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

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