Before the next snow dump, Erik Vogel is hoping Langley City will have sorted out responsibility for clearing off the sidewalk on the 208th Street hill, near 47th Avenue and his home.
When the snow hit, just before Christmas, no City crews cleared the sidewalk, which takes a steep drop.
The able-bodied Vogel found it a challenge to manoeuvre on the sidewalk in the snow, and wasn’t optimistic less physically able people would be able handle it at all.
“There’s no way anyone can navigate it in a walker, or a scooter,” Vogel commented.
After about four days, he said the warmer weather and rain washed it away.
He was under the impression the confusion over whether the City or local homeowners should be clearing the sidewalk was settled, early in 2020, when he asked the City for clarification.
Vogel went to the City after discussing it with a neighbour while they were clearing the sidewalk themselves.
“It doesn’t seem right that we’re doing it,” said Vogel, whose house backs onto 208th.
In fact, the hill between Grade Cres. and 46A only has one home that has a driveway on 208th, Vogel noted in his email to Coun. Nathan Pachal, who put Vogel in touch with Rick Bomhof, the City Director of Engineering, Parks, and Environment.
When Bomhof looked into the matter, he determined the sidewalk meets the criteria for the City and would be added to the list of sidewalks to be cleared by the municipal crews.
Vogel said he was more amused than outraged when the sidewalk wasn’t cleared, and posted a tongue-in-cheek photo to the “City of Langley Friends” Facebook page.
“Exhibit A,” he wrote. “My sidewalk and the steep 208th City sidewalk all the way to Fraser highway, just saying… (when we are away next winter I won’t have to worry about ours!)”
“Just giving them a push,” he explained.
For the City, the arrival of winter was a “little bit of a freak snow event,” Bomhof explained.
Crews were already dealing with a broken water main at 206th Street and 56th Avenue, some staff had started their Christmas holidays, and the snow had brought trees crashing down.
“We had a lot of tree damage,” Bomhof said.
Bomhof confirmed the sidewalk is on the City maintenance program list for snow clearing, but is categorized as secondary, meaning other, more critical roads and sidewalks have priority.
“When it is secondary, we may not be able to get to it.”