It was a major election issue and now Brockton is still no closer to finding a economically feasible solution in regards to winter sidewalk maintenance in it’s rural communities of Cheptow, Cargill and Elmwood.
In the past Brockton has simply ‘closed’ the sidewalks during the winter months, providing no snow clearing.
Many rural locals however are no longer satisfied with this and are demanding the same sidewalk maintenance care that Walkerton residents receive.
They cite safety concerns especially for children who have to walk along the roadside to catch the bus when the sidewalks are filled in.
In an attempt to address the issue, Brockton recently put out a tender asking the private sector for quotations to take on the sidewalk snow removal.
Unfortunately not one tender was received.
Mayor David Inglis says this is an issue Brockton has been struggling with for quite sometime, noting that over the last 3 to 4 years Brockton has tried to tender the work out with no success.
He supsects the high insurance costs associated with snowplowing sidewalks is the main deterrent for those in the private sector from putting forth a bid.
Staff report that for Brockton to take on such a project (all rural sidewalks) it would require a huge financial commitment involving the purchase of three new sidewalk clearing machines and the hiring of three people to operate the equipment.
Councilor Steve Adams suggests if the problem is too large to address all at once, perhaps the municipality should prioritize the sidewalk situation.
Adams recommends that Brockton start by maintaining the Chepstow main street sidewalk.
He calls the Chepstow need ‘critical’ as young children are forced to travel along the busy highway during the winter when the sidewalks are filled in which raises serious safety concerns as the highway is bustling with Bruce Power employee traffic in the morning.
Adams says Cargill and Elmwood are also important, but suggests Brockton start first where safety concerns are the greatest.
He says if a child were to perish or become injured as a result of an unplowed sidewalk it would be devastating especially when Brockton had the chance to make things right.
Inglis says it will now be up to the new Council to decide how it will handle this situation and to budget appropriately.
Like Adams, Inglis agrees there is a safety issue in Chepstow.