The City of Brandon is hoping a Good Samaritan will think twice before he decides to do any more snow clearing on city blocks.
Coun. Garth Rice (South Centre) has received several complaints about a citizen using private equipment to plow snow off sidewalks, damaging city infrastructure in the process.
“We do not appreciate private pieces of equipment on city property and doing damage,” Rice said. “The broken cement was obvious, but under the snow, it’s a little hard to tell until spring just how much damage.”
Rice said the complaints have been coming in from residents on the 700-block of 13th Street regarding damaged curbs, sidewalks and lawns.
“It happened last year, too. It was reported to police,” Rice said. “It kind of happens every year, but they started getting a little rougher in how they operate the equipment.”
Rice said they haven’t been able to track down the person responsible.
“In this case, he comes at night and does a sidewalk strip, but yet it’s not his sidewalk,” Rice said.
Rice believes a skid-steer loader is being used to clear snow.
“It damages our above-ground infrastructure and, let’s face it, you don’t want somebody who doesn’t know what sticks out of the ground, like curb stops and things like that,” Rice said. “If you’re not aware of them, as a city employee would be, you can do a lot of damage. You could have water leaks caused just by your negligence.”
This activity is in violation of a city traffic by-law (No. 5463/16/87). Rice encourages people to call police if they witness an individual using private equipment on city property.
“It shall be an offence for any person to drive, ride or back a vehicle on, across or along any boulevard, sidewalk or curb at any place other than an authorized crossing,” states the bylaw.
“Where any boulevard, sidewalk or curb has sustained damages from vehicles crossing thereon, whether lawfully or unlawfully, any required repairs will be carried out by the city and the costs paid by the owner and/or operator of the vehicle which damaged the boulevard, sidewalk or curb.”
City manager Scott Hildebrand said fixing a broken curb could cost the city thousands of dollars.
“I think it was … a Good Samaritan trying to clean up some streets and sidewalks, and … chipped away a sidewalk or wrecked a corner of it,” Hildebrand said. “We just want to make sure people are aware of their surroundings when they’re clearing those things because there’s a cost associated with fixing it after the fact.”
Brandon Police Service spokesman Const. Ron Burgess said police haven’t laid any charges.
“It is possible to get a permit to cross the boulevard,” he said. “The person would still be liable for any damage that was caused.”
According to the city, an individual in violation of the bylaw could face a fine up to $1,000, imprisonment up to six months, or both.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 14, 2013