Downtown Charlottetown businessman wants new plan for snow removal

Dave Stewart
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Downtown Charlottetown businessman Joe Dow isn't happy with the city's snow clearing efforts.
The owner of Dow's Men's Wear says it's time to come up with a new approach.
"I hope in the new year we can all get together and try and to come up with a strategic plan; look at it from a fresh perspective; try to come up with a new way to address snowfall, especially in the month of December,'' Dow said Thursday.
Dow and many other business owners will be busy today with Boxing Day sales.

The former board member with Downtown Charlottetown Inc. said efforts need to be better, especially leading up to Christmas considering everyone wants to be home for on Christmas Day.

"There are still banks in town. Customers are finding it hard to get over the banks and it's treacherous now with the cold.''

More than 80 centimetres of snow has fallen on the P.E.I. capital in less than three weeks and more is on the way. Environment Canada was forecasting up to 10 centimetres late Thursday through Friday morning with more snow in the forecast for Monday.

Dow observed that while it's understandable that plows were off the roads on Wednesday, the absence of plows was quite noticeable on Thursday.

"Something should be done. The downtown has to be addressed better. There were plenty of times, I assume, they could have got at it during the night time. At least get the parking spots cleaned out, not just on our behalf but the customers behalf.''

Coun. Terry Bernard, chairman of the public works committee, says the city is doing the best it can considering how much snow has fallen in just a few weeks.

"Usually, with 20 centimetres of snow it's between three and five days to get it all cleared,'' Bernard says. "Then we get another storm on top of that, we get some streets hauled out and we get some that are not.''

The councillor says the first priority is to open the streets followed by the sidewalks. Up until this week, priority was also given to school zones and, depending on the day the snow falls, priority is given to churches.

Bernard acknowledges that snow has been pushed onto certain sidewalks by snowplows, that some parking spots have yet to be cleaned out and that some side streets in the capital have been reduced to one lane.

This past Monday night was an issue for snow clearing because Bernard said shoppers aren't going to want to climb over walls of snow in the middle of the street doing their last-minute Christmas shopping. On Tuesday night, the city knew people would be heading out to church.

Crews were scheduled to be back on city streets Thursday night.

"We do appreciate people's patience. It is a lot of snow in a short period of time,'' Bernard said.

However, Dow said too many downtown shoppers are still complaining about the parking, road conditions and condition of the sidewalks. He looks at the parking lots at the big box stores and sees how quickly they get cleaned out, saying that gives them a business edge with shoppers.

"It's a rough time of year but it is snow and (the city is) geared up for it and they've dealt with it for years. I just wish they gave it a little more priority, especially before Christmas.''

Organizations: Environment Canada

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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