Last year I wrote a letter to the now departed Chilliwack Times about the state of residential side roads in this burg in the aftermath of a major snow and ice storms. Apparently, after some earnest discussion over the summer, City Council decided on a few minor adjustments to snow clearing policy. And we now see and hear the results. Residential side roads with hummocks of snow turning into slush traps upon thawing, cars stuck in intersections and household drives, the whining of spinning tires, and four days after a major snowfall a “once over lightly” from a plow.
This situation highlights a pervasive problem of conceptual transition in Chilliwack. If an urban area is to be a city, it has to provide necessary public services. These come with a cost and that cost must be borne by the residential tax levy in the absence of a rational general and progressive taxation system. Chilliwack is a retirement destination community now and this situation will evidently only become more pronounced as a result of real estate mobility pressure from Vancouver and surrounds. It is unreasonable to expect elderly citizens to simply get stuck multiple times in the side roads upon venturing out for necessities. It is unreasonable to expect them to be able or willing to shovel sidewalks. In short, it is unreasonable to pretend any longer that Chilliwack is small town with dense and all-inclusive networks of extended family resources. It is no longer 1956 and it never will be again. Add climate change and the consequent intensification of storm fronts to the mix as well.
Please plow all the urban roads councillors, tax accordingly, and we shall have fewer stress heart attacks suffered by people with no resources other than their own to get by with. Not to mention fewer snowy roads blocked by unmoving cars and trucks. It’s time to think seriously about what urban social arrangements are and all that they involve. And think about acquiring a mobile snow melter or two. After all, it’s only been 50 years since they went into general use in Ontario.