Roads and parking lots

Kids get a lot of merriment from falling snow, but many adults have had enough already.

Around this county the amount of snow dumped on us this past Tuesday was a bit of surprise, and by the look of the weather and the forecasts, residents could be in for a week of shoveling, snowblowing, and scraping.

One of the better quotes we have heard over the years in municipal circles is that a ratepayer’s concerns on any issue inevitably track back to the 50 feet in front of their homes. Analogies abound, but suffice to say, the discussion at Centre Wellington committee of the whole this past Monday was a good example of different points of view converging.

There is no question to us that the township staff does a great job of dealing with winter snow falls. As Public Works boss Ken Elder points out, there must be priorities – and clearly public highways are first. Councillor Walt Visser, to his credit, explained the dilemmas facing rural homeowners, who are, in many respects, housebound if roads are not cleared. Given the right equipment, roads can be cleared in pretty good time.

One of the forgotten aspects to getting roads open is the cost to industry and business when people cannot get to work. Using up sick days or missing a day’s pay is a pretty tough pill for workers stuck at home when they cannot easily get out of their driveways and lanes.

Advocating on behalf of two disgruntled correspondents was councillor Fred Morris, who is the council representative to the Fergus BIA, as well as a member. The gist of their concerns was that the parking lot between St. Patrick and St. Andrew streets, as well as pedestrian walking areas downtown, seemed to take too long to clean. Their point, as articulated by Morris, was that in order to attract customers and have a good shopping experience, sidewalks and parking lots should be clean by the time stores open.

At the end of the day, there is a great opportunity here to have a good discussion on meeting the needs of merchants and their customers. Customers are far more likely to go to a clean plaza parking lot than trudge through ankle deep snow – or worse – to go to a store. It would seem fitting that an arrangement be made by tender to have the lots and downtown area cleaned by the open of business each snow day.

While we fully agree with the list of priorities a little research and creative planning could keep everyone happy and productive.