Bee in my Bonnet


Hi! I’m Jen. Briana has invited me to be an occasional contributor for Tenth to the Fraser, and leave it to me to introduce myself by posting a slightly rant-errific type of post. This is re-posted from my personal blog at

I have a bee in my bonnet about an item that only really comes to light about 2 weeks a year. Kale and I walk every day, sometimes twice a day. I usually use the carrier, because I like having my hands free. Once in a while I will use the stroller. Because it snows so infrequently here on the West Coast, I have a feeling that people feel like they have no obligations to remove the snow on the sidewalks in front of their property. In fact, I have a feeling that not all of them even own a snowshovel. 

New Westminster is rather hilly, one might say, and the neighbourhood I live in is right at the crest of the big hill and as a result, when we go out walking every day, we walk up or down a hill no matter which direction we walk in. The city is pretty good about plowing and salting the roads – as one of the oldest settlements in BC and one that is so proudly independant, I would suspect that they actually harbour a rather large fleet of winter snow removing trucks. 

But these days, being so… pedestrian, I hardly care about the roads other than Ross getting home safely. 
People: aside from moralling being obligated to foster a sense of a caring community and actually being concerned with whether or not your neighbour takes a tumble on the walk in front of your house, you are also legally obligated to do so.

Not to get all harrumph-y here but… ahem
506. A person being the owner or occupier of real property shall remove snow, ice and rubbish from any sidewalk and foot path bordering that person’s real property and from the roof and other part of a structure adjacent to or abutting on any portion of the street, not later than 10:00 a.m. of the day
after the snow, ice or rubbish is deposited thereon.

Certain neighbours of mine spend a great deal of time decorating their house for Christmas. But you think they bother to get out there and shovel the walk in front of their house? NO. So what happens? Well, the snow gets tramped down by those of us who have to or choose to walk on by.  Then it melts a little, because it’s so sunny and gorgeous out. And then at night it freezes into a sheet of glass. Never mind the fact that I’m carrying a baby and if I slip and fall I’ll likely hurt Kale, what about the seniors? I tried using the stroller but I had to give up – pushing it through the slush was even more dangerous than carrying Kale. 

I hate to get all “I’m calling the bylaw people!” but seriously, what options do I have? I considered knocking on their door and asking, but what happens if they freak out about the confrontation? People tend to get a little nutty when they realize that a) they are totally in the wrong, and b) someone is calling them on it, so do I really want to go and knock on my neighbour’s door and get sworn, yelled, or worse, swung at? Not really. 

So seriously. Be a good neighbour. Avoid getting sued. Shovel and salt your sidewalk. Those of us out walking say “Thank you”.

5 Replies to “Bee in my Bonnet”

  1. If you call bylaws they will give you a song and dance. Poor home or business owner……

    By not going after the offenders the city’s Development Services department seems to think they are doing someone a favor, and it isn’t you.

    For you, they will;
    – up the cost of your water and garbage this year.

    -up the cost of parking this year.

    – charge more to get a license

    – charge you more for electricity

    -give you a $70 ticket if you run 1 min over on your parking meter.

    – give you a $70 ticket for parking a RV on the road for 24hours.

    -have someone to clean the graffiti off your fence and charge you for it.

    There is a mix up in the city when parking and tax issues are dealt with but assuring the safety of the residents is not.

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