Snowy sidewalks a concern for Kelowna seniors

Seniors in Kelowna are voicing concern about some unshovelled sidewalks around the city.

Under a city bylaw, most property owners are required to remove snow and ice from sidewalks and pathways next to their land within 24 hours.

But after a recent snowfall, Wade Ireland took a tumble on an unshovelled path. The fall gave him a black eye, several stitches and a deep cut into his cheek.

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Ireland is concerned the city isn’t doing enough to ensure sidewalks are shovelled after a snowstorm.

“I feel that the bylaws people are not doing an effective job of enforcing these bylaws,” Ireland said.

“You’re taking your life in your hands, going out the door getting a prescription filled or going for groceries.”

Kelowna resident Jonathan Keigan, who also struggles with mobility issues, agreed the sidewalks need to be better maintained.

“There are days that I have to look out and realize, it’s too dangerous. If I go out and walk, try to get past there, I’m going to slip and fall, and I’m not willing to risk that,” Keigan said.

Bylaw officers don’t have time to go around checking everybody’s sidewalk, but they do follow up on every complaint, Dan Maja, with Kelowna’s bylaw services, said.

If somebody calls in about an unshovelled sidewalk, a bylaw officer will pay a visit to the property and either speak with the owner or leave a warning on the door to shovel the path, he added.

The fine for failing to comply with the warning is $50.

However, Ireland believes bylaw officers should proactively check sidewalks.

He also thinks the city should consider clearing a path itself if the property owners won’t do it in a timely fashion.

“I’m really concerned about this. I just see it happening every day. People are falling down here, and nothing seems to be getting done. It seems to be falling on deaf ears.”

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