By Laura Keil, Publisher/Editor

I spoke with Seniors Program Supervisor Shae Carlson this week about the need for volunteers to assist seniors with everything from small errands and chores to social visits. She noted that winter is an especially hard time for many seniors who find themselves cooped up due to the difficulty of getting around on icy roads and sidewalks. It’s no joke. Falls are the leading cause of injury for seniors. The B.C. government reports that one in three British Columbians over the age of 65 will fall once every year, and falls are the main reason why older adults lose their independence. It can also land seniors in the hospital where their physical state can weaken and/or they can be exposed to pathogens in the hospital setting.

After last weekend’s snowfall, many of us have already discovered just how slippery it is out there. The thaw-freeze cycle is deadly, especially when drainage is poor. While downtown business owners are responsible for clearing sidewalks in front of their businesses, other areas are the Village’s purview. Regardless of whose responsibility, I believe we should look at snow removal etiquette from a senior’s and pedestrian’s perspective. For instance, the seniors row housing on 3rd and Cedar is just two blocks from the grocery store, but there are no sidewalks and the road and shoulders are not regularly sanded. Prioritizing the sanding of areas used frequently by seniors makes sense. All public parking lots and spaces should be regularly sanded or salted too. It is just as easy to slip getting in or out of your vehicle as it is walking down the street. There are several perennial problem areas including the parking lot just outside the post office. Leaky gutters allow water to pool where people walk, and the parking area receives so much traffic it quickly slicks into an ice sheet. Several seniors have fallen and fractured or broken arms over the years. This isn’t a place they can avoid. They have to get their mail. But managing the ice in the surrounding parking lot isn’t something that short-staffed post office workers should have to add to their plate. We need a better solution. 

The Village has said private property doesn’t fall under their authority. I’m not sure who can put pressure on businesses or building owners to better manage drainage and snow removal/sanding, but this isn’t something that should remain coffee shop gripe forever. Let’s voice our concerns this year.

Where else should the community pay better attention to snow removal? Let us know and we will publish it in next week’s Goat: [email protected]