Sidewalks in Winter

Increased public transit or residential sidewalk clearing? More frequent yard waste pick up or sidewalk ploughs? These are some of the trade-offs being examined by Council in the upcoming budget.

Guelph is one of the last communities in the province to clear residential sidewalks. Is it an effective use of tax dollars? I have heard a range of comments this winter:

  • the ploughs destroy my lawn and garden
  • the sidewalks are left with compacted snow and are more slippery than shoveled walks
  • it’s a waste of money for residential streets, but we still need the ploughs for arterial roads and bus stop clearing
  • we have to shovel our driveways anyway, the sidewalk isn’t a whole lot more
  • motorized ploughs are bad for the environment

Most of the comments seem to indicate that the money spent on residential sidewalk clearing could be better allocated elsewhere. There is an argument to be made that it is a service valued by our seniors. Perhaps we can try an approach that is working in Hamilton –


In addition, many seniors have neighbours or hired help to assist with grass cutting and winter driveway clearing already in place.

It’s timely to ask the question – should City Hall eliminate residential street sidewalk clearing?