'Not a time to be silent'

Article content

Our local government is giving taxpayers a chance to be heard and this is not a time to be silent on the issue of keeping our sidewalks clear of not just snow, but ice.

Yes, if you can believe it, the clowns that govern the province think they can control ice on our sidewalks and are passing down the responsibility to cities and taxpayers. (Next they will be thinking that cats can be herded!)

And Chatham-Kent’s leaders, like a bunch of lemmings, are following them over the cliff and telling us we have choices to make to accomplish this impossible, illogical and utterly ridiculous expectation. To make the situation even more insulting (if that is possible), they are asking us how much more in taxes we are willing to pay to do it.

I strongly urge all taxpayers to go online to the “Let’s Talk Chatham-Kent” website and complete the short survey on the topic and/or attend the public information forum to be held at the Chatham Civic Centre at 5 p.m. on July 29.


Story continues below

Article content

I say this not only because there are direct implications on each of us from a property maintenance and tax perspective, but also, further and perhaps significant implications from a liability perspective.

Don’t kid yourself for a moment. In this “sue-happy” environment that democratic jurisdictions unavoidably become, lawyers and opportunists will see this as an easy payday, and it will be individual property owners and collective tax bases that pay the judgments for a ballooning number of “accidental” slip and falls. It is important that we do not let this happen without pushing back.

In short, Chatham-Kent and many other southern Ontario communities are located in an area where the constant freeze/thaw and precipitation events of winter make it totally impossible to keep sidewalks constantly free of ice. Science and physics and Mother Nature make it a hopeless objective, and no argument can be made against this reality.

No amount of salt can remove or thaw ice once it goes below -17 C and, prior to then, it can be quite ineffective and inconsistent. We reach those temperatures pretty often around here, and whether we like it or not, there will be ice. Furthermore, if you think keeping sidewalks clear of snow is difficult, ice will be far, far more difficult.

And if the municipality can’t even keep our sidewalks free and clear of snow (which is far more manageable than ice) on our behalf, how in the world do they expect each of its citizens to keep them clear of both snow and ice?


Story continues below

Article content

What the province and the municipality are asking (or shoving down our throats) is irresponsible, pure lunacy! Only a total fool would accept responsibility for something they have no control over, especially when there is a liability attached to it.

Rather than bend over and take the stupidity the province is forcing upon us, C-K should first be engaging with other municipalities and their legal teams to challenge the province on this new requirement. Instead, they have simply “bent over”.

I urge each of you not to do the same. Again, go online and share your thoughts and/or come out to the public session on July 29. If we don’t and this stupidity goes ahead as proposed, we will all be getting out our wallets to pay more taxes or court judgements for something that we should never have had to.

There are just some things in life that no one can control or should be held responsible for.

Rick Youlton

News Near Chatham

This Week in Flyers