One Winnipeg businessman wants the city to pay to fix his bike rack damaged by a sidewalk snow plow. Another Winnipegger wants the city to stop dumping snow on her property and damaging her fence.

One Winnipeg businessman wants the city to pay to fix his bike rack damaged by a sidewalk snow plow. Another Winnipegger wants the city to stop dumping snow on her property and damaging her fence.

These complaints and others come in the draft of the city’s latest snow clearing effort, after last week’s storm.

Willows Christopher, co-owner of Shrugging Doctor Beverage Company, a local wine/cider producer with a tasting lounge at 448B Brooklyn St., said he was working Saturday when a snow plow went past to clear the sidewalk.

He later went outside, and said that’s when he saw the damage.

"The bike rack was lying against the outside wall," Christopher said Monday.

"You can’t even get a piece of paper between the rack and the wall. I don’t know how they did it — it’s anchored in concrete. I’ll have to wait until the snow melts to see what damage is at the bottom. I hope the wall isn’t damaged," he said.

"It’s pretty close to the sidewalk, but it is still on our property."

<p>TIM SMITH / THE BRANDON SUN</p><p>When in action, snow plows drive hundreds of kilometres of streets and sidewalks, and sometimes they damage things.</p>

TIM SMITH / THE BRANDON SUN

When in action, snow plows drive hundreds of kilometres of streets and sidewalks, and sometimes they damage things.

When in action, snow plows drive hundreds of kilometres of streets and sidewalks, and sometimes they damage things.

Last week, a plow struck what Manitoba Hydro calls a high voltage distribution centre on Taylor Avenue (large green box-like structure) and pushed it off its concrete base, causing the loss of power for about 3,500 customers in and around Linden Woods neighbourhood.

A Hydro spokesman said it took several hours to replace it and restore electricity to all its customers. It has not been determined if the Crown utility will ask the City of Winnipeg for compensation.

Laura Street homeowner Barb Greiss said crews annually cover the public sidewalk beside her house with the windrow left behind during street cleaning — even dumping additional snow in her backyard — but this year, they have also damaged her chain-link fence.

Greiss said the problem is the public sidewalk is connected to the curb and there is only about one foot of space on the other side of the sidewalk until her property line. She said the fence runs the side of the front yard, but, in the backyard, where the city will put snow two metres or more onto her property, there is no side fence.

"People can’t walk on the sidewalk during winter because it is covered with (piled snow)," said Greiss. "Children have to walk on the street to get to school

"But when you complain, they just blow you off," she said. "The city ignores me, then says thank you for letting us know, but then they say they don’t have the time or resources to remove it.

“The city ignores me, then says thank you for letting us know, but then they say they don’t have the time or resources to remove it." – Barb Greiss

"It’s crazy and it has been like this for decades, but this year it has been particularly bad. They should fix my fence."

Whether it is damaged curbs, boulevards, trees or fences, public works spokesman Ken Allen said residents can file personal property damage claims by calling 311 or submitting a claim form.

"Snow clearing crews make every effort to safely and efficiently clear streets, back lanes, sidewalks and active transportation pathways to ensure they are passable," said Allen.

"The city frequently enters into contracts with private contractors to perform work on the city’s behalf. The city’s agreements with the contractors contain a requirement that the contractor take responsibility for their work and respond directly to claims for any damage or injury they may have caused to the public."

Allen said a claim, along with photographs, estimates and any receipts, should be submitted to the city as quickly as possible, so the adjuster can send the information to any contractors to investigate.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Kevin Rollason

Kevin Rollason
Reporter

Kevin Rollason is one of the more versatile reporters at the Winnipeg Free Press. Whether it is covering city hall, the law courts, or general reporting, Rollason can be counted on to not only answer the 5 Ws — Who, What, When, Where and Why — but to do it in an interesting and accessible way for readers.