Sylvan Lake Council to review policy on snow and ice removal from sidewalks

Sylvan Lake Town Council met for its regular meeting on Jan. 28

The Town of Sylvan Lake will be adding to 33 property owners’ taxes who have not cleared their sidewalks of snow and ice.

Over the winter months of the last year, January to March and December of 2018, a total of 123 properties were investigated by Municipal Enforcement regarding ice and snow not removed from the sidewalks.

These properties included a total of 235 community sidewalk locations.

The Town issued 23 citations to property owners requesting immediate action to clear the sidewalks. These citations included Sidewalk Warning Notification Letters, tags, violation ticket warning and charges.

In addition to the the citations, Municipal Enforcement required the services of a maintenance company to remove snow and ice from “60 severely neglected sidewalks.”

Each property owner was invoiced by the Town for the cost of the snow and ice removal, and given 30 days to pay.

A total of 33 property owners have left their invoice unpaid for a total amount of $2,436.

According to Coun. Megan Hanson-Chernoff, many of those who have not paid the invoice are repeat offenders.

“I would like us to consider a change for the future, so we can see more of a deterrent for the property owners,” Hanson-Chernoff said during the meeting.

“Right now the result is like a slap on the wrist, and away they go.”

In a future Committee of the Whole meeting, updates will be presented to the Community Standards Bylaw.

According to Ron Lebsack, director of Community Services, a review of the entire bylaw would be beneficial, rather than picking it apart for the one section.

For now the unpaid expenses incurred by the Town for removing the snow and ice from sidewalks will be added to the tax roll for the property owners.

“I’d like to see the punishment be more than a small $47, which is the case for many of these properties,” Hanson-Chernoff said.

Subdivision Extensions

Town Council reviewed the process regarding subdivision extension requests.

Currently the Town does not have a limit on how many times a new subdivision may request an extension. Each time an extension is requested it is the decision of Council to grant it.

Some nearby communities allow subdivisions three extensions before a new application is required.

Town Council agreed they would like to see something similar put into place for Sylvan Lake.

“In order to encourage more responsible and responsive planning the Town could consider revising the fee schedule to adjust subdivision extension fees and/or indicate a limit to the number of extensions that will be considered,” a report to Council states.

Town Council will review possible changes to the fee schedule at a future meeting.

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