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Toronto ombudsman monitoring slew of complaints about snow removal

Last Updated Feb 19, 2019 at 9:22 pm EST

A plow clearing the sidewalks of snow in Toronto on Jan. 29, 2019. CITYNEWS/Bert Dandy

The City of Toronto might have dumped 12,000 tonnes of salt on roads and sidewalks during a recent winter storm, but it’s still getting peppered with complaints about insufficient and spotty snow and ice removal.

In a release Tuesday, City of Toronto ombudsman Susan Opler acknowledged her office is monitoring a slew of complaints received by the City of Toronto from citizens who feel it hasn’t been able to keep up with Mother Nature’s winter wrath.

“We have heard many stories of people reporting that sidewalks, roads, bike lanes or public paths have not been cleared of snow and ice in a timely way,” Opler wrote. “People have also said calls to the city to complain sometimes yield delayed responses or no response.”

Opler also said snow and ice removal services vary drastically in different parts of the city — a “holdover from before amalgamation more than two decades ago.”

For example, the ombudsman noted mechanical sidewalk snow clearing is available in most parts of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough, while it’s not available in Toronto and East York.

“Sidewalks not cleared of snow and ice affect many people,” said Opler, “including those with mobility challenges and young families with strollers.”

Opler said her office is monitoring the complaints while awaiting a report Mayor John Tory has requested from the city’s Transportation Services division.

A previous version of this article incorrectly said the Ombudsman had received complaints directly. This has been corrected to reflect that the City of Toronto received the complaints and the Ombudsman is aware and monitoring.