The City of Williams Lake is attempting to shift the burden of snow removal from sidewalks to home and business owners whose property is in front of city-owned sidewalks and boulevards.
Who owns that property?
The city owns the property and if someone gets injured on that sidewalk and negligence is proven then the city should be sued.
However, once a resident touches that sidewalk then who is negligent?
Chances are the courts may see the efforts of clearing sidewalks the culprit that created the accident zone by maybe leaving a patch of ice or snow behind that created incident.
How much further should property owners go to ensure no one is placed in harm’s way by sanding? How about melting all the snow and ice? What about posting signs that limit liability or one that says stupid people are not allowed?
Should the property owners be responsible and forced to carry extra insurance? I think not.
With our aging population there are many seniors struggling with finances to hire people for snow removal and now the city thinks it’s OK to shovel extra costs in the form of more tax and insurance to an already over taxed property owner — say nothing of the stress and potential injury issues.
What about liability, a sneaky issue that almost all government is attempting to shift toward the public.
If I alter the natural state of a trail, no matter who owns, it and it is proven that alternation contributed to injury, chances are pretty good I will be held responsible.
How about if the property owner injures themselves shoveling city property? Hire a good lawyer and the city may well be paying the medical bills and disability claim or worse, after all, they may be considered an employee. Hey, maybe a pension in there somewhere?
Get your head out of the sand and cancel this ludicrous by-law.
Then get it together and put a proper snow removal plan in place that sees the downtown core cleared in during the morning hours so workers and customers are not put at risk, especially just before a freeze up.
Henry Van Soest