‘Bad neighbour’ snow-clearing complaints piling up

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

If you’re waiting for the Town of Slave Lake peace officers to give a stern warning to the neighbour who never clears the snow off the sidewalk in front of his place, don’t hold your breath. Yes, town bylaw requires him to do it. But no, the peace officers will likely not get around to it unless there’s a formal complaint.

Even responding to complaints is tough, explains senior peace officer Mark Becker, due to lack of resources.

“There’s only just the two of us doing enforcement,” Becker tells The Leader in an email response to a question about the issue. “So far we are sitting at around 40 snow removal complaints in addition to all our other duties.”

The procedure for responding to those complaints is being developed.

“What I will say is that we are taking a hard line on persons ignoring our notices after they have been warned to shovel their sidewalks,” Becker says. “This includes issuing a $500 ticket for persons having complete disregard for our attempts to gain compliance.”

As for the education program on it, reported on earlier, Becker says due to that same lack of manpower, it hasn’t rolled out yet. There was talk of a ‘door-knocker’ type of information package to be widely distributed, explaining property owners’ responsibilities. Those will be distributed as time permits.

But for now, with the town responding to complaints only, here’s what Becker offers by way of options:
1) Call the enforcement complaint line at 780-849-8014 or;
2) Email the enforcement complaint email at enforcement@slavelake.ca or;
3) Go to www.slavelake.ca and make an online complaint or
4) Download the Slave Lake app and file a complaint on there.

“We encourage people to be a good neighbour and lend a helping hand to those in need after a big dump and we ask for patience. No one likes to hang onto dear life when walking on a snow covered sidewalk which is why we highly encourage those to make the complaints.”

Becker also reminds residents that for seniors, snow-clearing services are available through the town’s FCSS department.

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