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Senior shovelers frustrated as City of Surrey snowplows immediately undo efforts

Minutes after they’re cleared, in keeping with city bylaws, snow piled onto South Surrey sidewalks
A South Surrey resident is frustrated with the city after he and his neighbours spent two hours on Thursday morning clearing sidewalks of snow, in keeping with local bylaws, only to have a city plow come along minutes later and undo all their work. (file photo)

South Surrey senior Pat Hahn considers himself a fan of the snow.

But not, he said, when City of Surrey snowplows dump icy banks of it on freshly-shoveled sidewalks.

Hahn and neighbours in the 14400-block of 34 Avenue consider themselves diligent about following the city bylaw that requires them to keep the sidewalks clear after a fresh snowfall.

But that may be over, he said, after their experiences Thursday morning, following the overnight snow-dump. And he’s betting his neighbourhood isn’t the only one with a beef against city snowplow drivers.

Hahn told Peace Arch News Thursday afternoon he was up at at 5 a.m that day – along with other neighbours – to clear the sidewalk of snow.

“I’m in my early 70s and the guy two doors down from me is in his late 70s,” he said. “We and some of the other neighbours had the sidewalks all clear by 7 a.m.”

But in the time it took to go inside and get a cup of coffee, he said, a city snowplow had barrelled down the street, plunking snow from the middle of the road onto the sidewalks.

“A neighbour took video of it,” he said, adding that it has since been confirmed that it wasn’t a contractor, but a city snowplow that was responsible.

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“I’ve always liked the snow,” he said. “I get out in it as much as I can – but I don’t like it when two hours of back-breaking work is obliterated just like that. The city wants us to keep the sidewalks clear, but then they do this.

“I’ve cleared the path leading to our door and salted it so no one falls over. But, I’m sorry, I’m not clearing the sidewalk again.”

Hahn said he’s had reason to call the city’s road maintenance department three times before, following heavy snowfalls, to complain about the same thing.

“It doesn’t happen in light snowfalls, but only when there’s a significant snowfall,” he said. He added that he believes that the angle of the snowplow blades needs to be adjusted to avoid repetition of the problem.

“I don’t think the drivers are doing it deliberately – it’s a matter of time,” he said. “They’re only given so much time to get the streets clear.

“The people at the city, when you phone, are always very sincere. They say, ‘We’ll make sure it doesn’t happen again’ - but I don’t think the message is getting through to the top people.”

PAN has reached out to the City of Surrey for comment.

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